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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 47954 Find in a Library
Title: EX-OFFENDER OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING - HELP OR HINDRANCE
Journal: TEXAS JOURNAL OF CORRECTIONS  Volume:4  Issue:14  Dated:(MAY/JUNE 1978)  Pages:9-13
Author(s): R V DELCARMEN
Corporate Author: Texas Corrections Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Texas Corrections Assoc
Austin, TX 78741
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: STATE LICENSING RESTRICTIONS POSE SIGNIFICANT BARRIERS TO THE EMPLOYMENT OF THE EX-OFFENDER. IN VIEW OF THE RELATION BETWEEN EMPLOYMENT AND RECIDIVISM, SUCH RESTRICTIONS ARE SELF-DEFEATING AND REQUIRE REMEDY.
Abstract: A STUDY BY THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION INDICATED THAT THERE ARE 1,948 SEPARATE STATUTORY PROVISIONS IN THE COUNTRY THAT AFFECT THE LICENSING OF INDIVIDUALS WITH A RECORD OF CONVICTION. WHILE THE LICENSING OF OCCUPATIONS MAY BE A SOUND AND NECESSARY PRACTICE FOR IMPROVING AND MAINTAINING THE QUALITY OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICE, IT IS NECESSARY THAT SUCH REQUIREMENTS BE FAIR AND EQUITABLE AND NOT TO AUTOMATICALLY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY ONE CLASS OF INDIVIDUALS. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ISSUE FOR CORRECTIONS IS ILLUSTRATED BY THE FACT THAT MANY INSTITUTIONS TRAIN INMATES FOR VOCATIONAL SKILLS. FOR INSTANCE, BARBERING IS TAUGHT IN MANY INSTITUTIONS, YET BARBERING REQUIRES LICENSING IN 46 STATES. AN EXAMPLE OF THE IMPACT OF LICENSING RESTRICTIONS ON EX-OFFENDER EMPLOYABILITY CAN BE SEEN IN THE REGULATIONS AND LAWS OF TEXAS. SUCH LAWS COVER 61 OCCUPATIONS FROM WHICH AN EX-OFFENDER MAY BE DISQUALIFIED. THE DISQUALIFYING PROVISIONS FALL INTO SIX GENERAL CATEGORIES: NEED FOR GOOD MORAL CHARACTER, SPECIFIC PROVISIONS AGAINST EX-OFFENDERS, REFUSAL OF LICENSE TO PERSONS OF QUESTIONABLE CHARACTER, NEED FOR BUSINESS INTEGRITY, REQUIREMENT OF GOOD CHARACTER AND REPUTATION, AND THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE APPLICANT NOT BE CONVICTED OF A FELONY. A NUMBER OF THESE REQUIREMENTS ARE BROAD, VAGUE, AND DENY LICENSING TO AN EX-OFFENDER REGARDLESS OF OFFENSE. SINCE MOST LICENSING DISABILITIES ARE LEGISLATIVELY OR ADMINISTRATIVELY IMPOSED, THE MOST EXPEDIENT SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM WOULD BE BY LEGISLATION WHICH CLEARLY DEFINES LICENSING GUIDELINES. THE TEXAS STATE BAR HAS APPROVED A MODEL BILL WHICH SEEKS TO MODIFY BARRIERS TO EX-OFFENDER EMPLOYMENT BY PROPOSING THAT PRIOR CONVICTION NOT BE A GROUND FOR WITHHOLDING A LICENSE UNLESS THE CRIME RELATES DIRECTLY TO THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OCCUPATION. JUDICIAL ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES CAN BE FOUND IN THREE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS: THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE, THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE, AND THE PROVISION AGAINST CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. A THIRD REMEDY IS THE ISSUANCE OF AN OPINION BY THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL DEFINING OPERATIONAL STANDARDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION. IN GENERAL, LEGISLATIVE REMEDIES ARE PROBABLY THE MOST EFFECTIVE. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Discrimination; Ex-offender employment; Law reform; Licensing; State laws; Texas
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=47954

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