The number of jobs that require a government-approved license has exploded in just the past few decades. This increase in occupational licensure is problematic in its own right, as it reduces competition and access to jobs for those who cannot afford the time and/or money it takes to acquire a license to work.
That burden falls even harder on those individuals who have a criminal record, as many state licensing laws effectively (and sometimes explicitly) ban ex-offenders from accessing a wide variety of well paid professions and trades. While some of these restrictions may be rational, overly broad prohibitions on access to occupational licenses can make the already difficult process of finding a decent job after leaving prison even harder. As more states focus on policies to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society as productive citizens, occupational licensing reform has to be considered an essential part of that process.
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