This is a really good question. The answer at the moment is, no. But if you had asked just a few months ago, the answer would have been, it depends. The reason the answer is a lot clearer today is because of a number of court decisions declaring the law unconstitutional.
Last week we talked about the effect criminal charges can have on an individual's employment. Unfortunately, when someone spends time in prison for a crime, even if it is a minor crime and one that did not include violence, he or she may have a very difficult time finding a job. For those offenders who are sentenced to long prison sentences, however, the issue may be moot, as they may be too old to work after they are released.
Anyone in Cook County who follows the national debate on drug crimes will be familiar with the push to reform sentencing laws for nonviolent drug offenders. There are many people from Chicagoland who will spend the next several decades in prison, or possibly the rest of their lives, just because they were caught with a significant amount of drugs. They were charged with and convicted of one or more federal drug crimes, like possession with intent to sell, and have been locked up since.