Criminal Record & TPD?

Hey all,

I’m new here- have had this thought for many years and finally found somewhere to put it out there.

I’m a person with a criminal conviction - felony conviction, and graduated with my Master’s degree this year. I have over 100k in debt (all federal loans). While I was able to get a job, my felony conviction creates a unique challenge for me to find affordable housing and earn a decent living. I have to work twice as hard to support myself and $500 monthly student loan payment is impossible.

It’s a complete long shot and probably won’t work but my argument is that having a criminal record should qualify as a total and permanent disability because of the barriers that exist For people with convictions which significantly limit my earning potential.

Also considering the debt protection one because after graduating with my masters in social work, my school never included any information in marketing materials That formerly incarcerated students might have difficultly obtaining a state license to practice social work. They asked the conviction question on their admissions application, so therefore they should mention this in their program description.

Definitely long shot but curious if there are any other formerly incarcerated students here and any ideas on how to frame our realities that could result in discharge ?!

Thanks for reading,
Sarah

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Hi @Szarba12, there are so many issues that we need to change with our criminal justice system and our education system.

I do think it is a long shot to get a felony conviction classified as a disability, but there are many people working to simply remove many of the damaging restrictions that formerly incarcerated people are forced to navigate. I think there is reason for hope that these efforts will bear fruit although it will be a long hard fight. The Debt Collective is working in collaboration with other groups on this front, especially around fines and fees and bail. But removing both the stigma and the legally damaging effects are also key to making sure people can survive after incarceration.