As this article from the Dayton Daily News reports, reducing the restrictions on obtaining licensing that leads to work for reentering prisoners is a good strategy.
Ideally, the restrictions on licensing should be based on a substantial relationship between the criminal history and the licensing being applied for—for example, a person who had sold drugs would be precluded from becoming a pharmacist.
“COLUMBUS — Roughly 2 million Ohioans with criminal records may have an easier time finding work and therefore be less likely to commit another crime, under a bill headed to Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to sign it. The bill also attempts to trim the number of ways Ohioans can lose their driver’s licenses and make it easier for suspended drivers to regain their driving privileges.
“The Ohio House on Wednesday unanimously approved the bill that would reduce the number of post-prison and post-conviction sanctions offenders face, such as being barred from holding a commercial driver’s license or other occupational licenses.
“Kasich said the legislation offers redemption.
“Who here doesn’t need to be redeemed? We are giving people a second chance. This whole felony thing where we just locked them up and when you get out, you pay the penalty, you come out of some place, you’re excited to go get a job and they slam the door in your face. Twenty-five years we’ve waited for this, haven’t we senator? Twenty-five years and we did it together. And now somebody can get a job,” Kasich said in an unusual floor speech to state senators.
“It is a great piece of legislation. It will help change and save the lives of a whole lot of Ohioans — not just the 2 million that have been convicted of misdemeanors or felonies — but a lot of families,” said Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Communities will be safer because people will have more chances at landing jobs instead of returning to crime, he said.
“If somebody has a job when they get out of prison, they’re much less likely to re-offend. So this is both a public safety and economic bill,” said Amy Borror, spokeswoman for Ohio Public Defender Tim Young. Young, however, opposed some changes made to the release of juvenile records.”