The Council of State Governments Justice Center presents a national overview of the scope, features, and operation of the employment-related collateral consequences imposed by state and federal law that pose unnecessary barriers to employment opportunities that are critical in reducing recidivism and facilitating a constructive life course for those processed in the justice system.
Employment-related consequences impact a variety of jobs, from accounting to plumbing, either by limiting the ability of employers to hire people with certain convictions or by limiting access to licenses and other similar credentials necessary for work. As with other restrictions, those related to employment vary widely in how they operate and whom they impact. Data for the current report were obtained from the National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction (NICCC), a searchable online database that catalogs these provisions across the country. This analysis can guide policymakers committed to mitigating the impact of public policies that pose barriers to employment for those who are or have been under supervision by the justice system. Although the NICCC assists its users in identifying the consequences that may apply to an individual with a specific conviction, it can be used to develop overviews of types of consequences; for example, policymakers and advocates can use the database to identify the employment-related consequences that a jurisdiction must impose due to a person’s conviction for any felony offense. Those consequences and their attributes can then be analyzed to identify areas for additional evaluation or reform. Based on this analysis of NICCC data, this report discusses existing limitations on occupational and professional licensing. Six policy recommendation for addressing these employment barriers are discussed. 6 figures