Criminal records impact potential homeowners, Rice University study shows

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A new study from Rice University is showing just how much of an impact contact with the criminal justice system can have on homeownership, and we're not just talking about felony convictions.

The research is still being done, but what Rice University Assistant Sociology Professor Brielle Bryan found is that even people who have low-level contact with the criminal justice system are falling behind in homeownership.

You might expect to see that if it's someone who has been convicted of a crime and went to prison, but the research shows even those who may have been arrested but never served time are also negatively impacted when it comes to buying their first home and even keeping that home long term.

The study looked at people born in the 1980s.

Why is it happening? That is still being looked at, and the answer could help policy makers when and if they address criminal justice reform.

"I think the best we can do is to be increasingly cognizant of the ways in which interactions with the justice system end up mattering for all others," Bryan said.

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The year 2020 saw 9% more in sales than 2019. Plus, the average amount of days a home stays on market even shortened!

Again, a lot more research needs to go into finding a solution to the problem, but it appears even low-level contact with the criminal justice system in the U.S. makes it harder to achieve success, and homeownership is one of those areas.

"Unfortunately, the answers are not as simple as we hope and if we did away with incarceration entirely, it looks like there would still be detrimental impacts that aren't necessarily what we want, just from lesser forms of criminal justice contact," said Bryan.

Homeownership is a key achievement for building financial security, but in some cases, that is being denied to people who had low-level contact with the system.

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