There’s a lot of talk about the improving job market in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States. However, there are some people in America who desperately want to work but struggle to get hired. These are people with arrest records or who have served time in jail or prison. Some of these people served time for minor infractions, while others committed serious crimes twenty years ago and have steered clear of trouble since.
Forbes believes that states need to show a greater commitment toward giving ex-cons a fresh start. It notes that all across America, criminal records affect 30,000 licensing restrictions. Note that roughly 30% of American jobs require a license to work. Put simply, there are many high-skilled and professional fields requiring licenses that ex-cons are not eligible for because of past records.
People who have never been arrested may quickly push this problem off as someone else’s issue. However, this affects more Americans than they might think. About one-third of people in America have a criminal record. While the current unemployment rate is enjoying a new low, 60% to 75% of people released from prison remain unemployed a year later.
According to NPR, Indiana is one of several states that make it possible for people with criminal records to reclaim their lives. The state’s Second Chance law passed in 2013 and allows people to petition the state to get misdemeanors removed from the public eye. There are around 20 or so states that have passed similar laws. However, most only apply to misdemeanors. Until America addresses the issues behind mass incarceration, this is one of the small opportunities that people with minor offenses should try to take advantage of when they can.