Friday, August 19, 2016

Bryant Jackson-Green ― Illinois voters support removing licensing restrictions for ex-offenders

Each year, more than 30,000 people are released from Illinois prisons and face the challenge of re-entering society. The surest way for ex-offenders to get their lives back on track – and not return to prison – is to find a good job. One barrier in the way of successful workforce re-entry, however, is the fact that Illinois has 118 occupational and professional licenses that by law can be denied ­– and in some cases must be denied – to people with criminal records.

A majority of Illinois registered voters oppose these restrictions, as shown by a May 2016 poll the Illinois Policy Institute commissioned. Pollsters surveyed 500 Illinois registered voters about criminal-justice reform issues, including occupational licensing. Pollsters asked respondents:
Illinois has at least 118 business and occupational licenses that by law either must or may be denied to people with criminal records. This includes, for example, occupations such as barber and real estate agent. Once someone has successfully completed their prison sentence and parole, do you think they should be denied these licenses, or should they be granted these licenses if they’re otherwise qualified?
Seventy-six percent of respondents say they should be granted – compared to just 15 percent who disagree.

Read the full article HERE.