Getting a Job After a Criminal Conviction
The idea behind incarceration is that it allows you to pay your debt to society before you rejoin and become a productive member. Unfortunately, that isn’t always how it plays out in real life. Barriers exist that prevent those with criminal records from finding housing, getting employed, and becoming active in their communities.
The team at Ron Aslam Law Office knows how a criminal conviction can change your future and hinder your dreams. We’re here to help if you’re facing criminal charges. Call us at 502-581-1676 to schedule a consultation.
Barriers Make it Difficult to Ever Rejoin Society
The title of “convicted criminal” is like an albatross, following you wherever you go, no matter how much you have changed as a person. This isn’t an uncommon situation—about one-third of American adults have a criminal record. While criminal convictions are common, federal and state laws still make it far too easy for employers, lenders, and landlords to discriminate against those with criminal records.
Without full access to employment opportunities, someone with a criminal record can never get the financial freedom they need to integrate into society. These barriers must be broken down on a societal, state, and federal level.
Banning the Box
One movement that has spread like wildfire in recent years is “banning the box.” This refers to the box you can tick when filling out a job application online or on paper. It requires you to tick the box if you have ever been convicted of a crime.
There are several issues with this. First, it does not distinguish between a one-time offenses in the past and a long history of repeated criminal offenses. Second, it does not distinguish between individuals. There is no room for personal growth in these boxes—just a “yes” or a “no.”
Many employers have moved to ban the box by removing the box entirely from their applications. In 2017, Governor Matt Bevin enacted an executive order banning the box for those applying for state government jobs. He encouraged private sector employees to do the same thing.
This doesn’t mean that your criminal record will not come to light. The vast majority of employers do thorough background checks when they move forward in the hiring process. However, this move does prevent an employer from rejecting you outright. This allows you to be judged based on your qualifications, rather than a check in a box.
Navigating Licensing Board Issues
Licensing boards pose a much greater issues for those with criminal histories. Every licensing board in every state sets its own rules and statutes. Many have vague morality clauses that forbid anyone without “good moral character” from becoming licensed. This allows the licensing board to deny anyone for any reason they feel necessary. A criminal record is often enough to get someone denied a license on moral grounds.
Others enact strict regulations that are not relevant to the board. Consider, for example, a CNA licensing restriction that prevents anyone with a violent criminal record from becoming licensed. This is a relevant regulation, as it’s reasonable not to want a potentially violent person to be working with vulnerable people in their homes. However, it does not necessarily make sense to prevent a would-be barber from becoming licensed because they shoplifted once.
There are activist groups working to change the regulations observed by licensing boards. This is change that must happen on a systemic level.
If you personally want to prove that you’ve changed since your criminal conviction, consider applying for jobs with companies that have banned the box. You can also go the extra mile to prove that you have learned from your experience and are dedicated to a law-abiding life. If you have gone through rehabilitation, keep copies of your certificate and be ready to talk about how you’ve evolved as a person since your criminal activity.
Choose Ron Aslam Law Office for Your Criminal Law Needs The best way to avoid being judged for your criminal record is to avoid a conviction entirely. If you are currently facing criminal charges, this is the time to get serious about your legal representation and protect your future. Learn more about how Ron Aslam Law Office can help. Schedule a consultation now by contacting us online or calling u