03. Life Beyond Federal Justice System
"America is the land of the second chance - and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life."
- President George W. Bush
In most cases there are no limitations placed on defendants by the court which dictate what they can and cannot do for a career or in their own personal life as a result of a felony. In the view of the court, your debt to society has been paid. However, there are plenty of restrictions that exist in the United States for people after prison. While there are many reforms planned, there is no shortage of barriers to those who are exiting prison.
Financially there can be issues. In addition to the losses experienced during this process, financial institutions (credit card companies, insurance companies, banks, investment firms) all have the right to deny service. Upon leaving prison, many defendants find that their financial institution will no longer conduct business with them. Companies like Fidelity Investments have sent notices to defendants who had retirement accounts with them and asked them to move them to another institution as a result of the felony. Some defendants have had to liquidate accounts because they could not find a place to invest their money.
While it is not illegal for someone to have a banking relationship, most find it difficult. Eventually, most find a way around it or get to work with a bank who have a greater tolerance.