While recently reading a memoir about a New York City police officer, I came to realize that as a convicted felon, I have lost many privileges and civil rights afforded those who haven’t been convicted of a serious crime. The fact that my crime was nonviolent – and that the government got twice as much as I would have owed had I paid in a timely fashion – matters not. I have lost the aforementioned privileges. Curious to discover the magnitude of the situation, I googled the subject and am happy to report that in my somewhat unique case, it looks like I’m better off for the loss.
For starters, I’ve lost my right to vote. Now this varies from state to state and in fact, I may be able to recover this right. I’m not clear – and I don’t care. If the gov wants to make it difficult for me to vote, I’m fine with that. Sadly, voting is not a privilege I really care about. I’d be much more inclined to volunteer and campaign for a candidate I endorsed with the intent of swaying groups of voters rather than getting all indignant about my one little vote. Happily, a convicted felon can do all the volunteering and campaigning he or she wants on behalf of his or her favorite candidate.
Next case on the docket (couldn’t resist) is serving on a jury. Don’t make me laugh. Not serving on jury duty is a perk not a spanking. I’ve done enough jury duty to know I never want to do it again. In fact, I could have made that previous statement after the first time I served. Not a particularly gratifying or enlightening experience.
Additionally, I can never get SSI, food stamps, a government grant or live in public housing. Guess what! Except for unemployment insurance, I’ve never been on the dole or lived in public housing. I wouldn’t give you two cents to get any of those privileges back. No loss there.
Having a felony on your record can make it difficult to get certain types of employment. Hello! I’m 67 years old and with the exception of three jobs which I held for a grand total of 3 or 4 months, I’ve never held employment which might fall under that limitation. And the likelihood that I will in the future is negligible.
Then there’s parental and custody rights. Another problem for convicted felons. But hey! No kids – so no issue. Hard to lose custody of something you don’t have in the first place.
And finally, I probably can’t own a gun – and definitely not a pistol. Guess what! I don’t currently and never have owned a gun except for a BB gun when I was 10. However, I do know how to shoot a gun – having lettered on the riflery team in high school.
Well basically, that’s it. There’s your list of the privileges and civil rights a convicted felon loses. In essence, I’ve lost nothing – unless you want to count the small matter of $4.4 mil to the gov and 100k to the lawyers. But the magnitude of that loss was so gigantic that I never really wrapped my head around it in much the same way that I never really could fathom how much fucking money I made selling escort ads.