FreedomWorks has written previously about how occupational licensure laws hurt the economy, small businesses, and people without the means to get a government issued license. However, occupational licensure is also a justice reform issue.
People around the country with felony convictions become automatically ineligible for thousands of occupational licenses, making it near impossible for those who have served their time and paid their debt to society to support themselves. Too often, people are forced to return to a life of crime because employers do not want to hire convicted criminals and licensure laws prohibit them from using the skills they have to make a living.
Bernard Kerik, the Director and Founder of the American Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform, spoke about the barriers created by licensure laws at a public briefing titled Conservatives with Convictions: Conservatives Push to Reform Failing Criminal Justice System. Kerik, who worked in law enforcement for over 30 years and was nominated by George W. Bush as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland in 2004, served four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to false statements and tax charges. He didn’t pay payroll tax for his children’s nanny.
Kerik provided a detailed depiction of the failed systems he saw while incarcerated. Taxpayer money is being spent so that inmates can take classes and learn skills while they are serving their time; however, once people are released, those skills become useless. The trades people learn while incarcerated require licenses in the outside world. Even though…