In 2017, NACDL advocated for the passage of B22-0523, legislation to eliminate barriers to occupational licensing for individuals who have been involved with the criminal legal system. In January 2021, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Removing Barriers to Occupational Licensing for Returning Citizens Amendment Act of 2019 (B23-0440), which limits a licensing board’s consideration of criminal convictions to those directly relevant to the occupation for which the license is sought and prohibits boards from considering any juvenile, sealed, expunged, vacated, or pardoned convictions. B23-0440 went into effect on March 16, 2021.
Letters & Testimony
Race + Criminal Legal System: Collateral Consequences Part II
In Part I of our discussion on Race and Collateral Consequences, we heard from our featured panelists just how the collateral consequences of a conviction – the specific legal barriers, generalized discrimination, and social stigma – have become more numerous and severe. Much like the Jim Crow Laws that relegated African Americans to a permanent and multi-generational underclass, collateral consequences stemming from criminal conviction can be an individual’s most serious punishment, permanently relegating a person to second-class status. In Part II of this discussion, we take a deep dive into how a past criminal conviction can impact an individual’s ability to participate in certain industries, e.g. the legal profession, the cannabis industry, and other business and entrepreneurship opportunities.
This webinar features Robert Patillo, Executive Director of the Rainbow PUSH Atlanta Peachtree Street Project (moderator); Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance; Kevin Garrett, Fellow at the Texas Jail Project; and Tracey Syphax, Author and Entrepreneur, From the Block to the Boardroom, LLC. Join us for this important discussion and hear from our speakers how over policing and over incarcerating communities of color, and using prior convictions to effectively restrict access to these professional opportunities serves to prevent the accumulation of wealth and power, thus continuing to marginalize these communities.
- Applying for SBA COVID-19 relief with a criminal record in 2021, Collateral Consequences Resource Center (March 2021)
- Two significant new occupational licensing laws enacted in 2021, Collateral Consequences Resource Center (February 2021)
- The Road to Cannabis Industry Equality, The Hoban Minute Podcast, Episode 91, featuring Jason Ortiz (July 2020)
- Formerly Incarcerated Businessowners Sue SBA for Denying Them COVID-19 Emergency Loans, The Appeal (June 2020)
- Equity Must Be at the Heart of Marijuana Legalization, ACLU (June 2019)
- From Prohibition to Progress: A Status Report on Marijuana Legalization, Drug Policy Alliance (January 2018)
- Deborah Rhode, Virtue and the Law: The Good Moral Character Requirement in Occupational Licensing, Bar Regulation, and Immigration Proceedings, 43 Law & Social Inquiry 1027 (2018)
- Prison to Proprietor: Entrepreneurship as a Re-Entry Strategy, FIELD at the Aspen Institute (September 2016)
- The Crippling Effect of Incarceration on Wealth, Prison Policy Institute (April 2016)
- Steven Slivinski, Turning Shackles into Bootstraps: Why Occupational Licensing Reform Is the Missing Piece of Criminal Justice Reform, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University no. 2016-01 (November 2016)
- From the Block to the Boardroom by Tracey Syphax
- 2020 JCMH Summit: Lived Experience Expert featuring Kevin Garrett, Texas Judicial Commission on Mental Health (January 2021)
- Kevin Garrett at Texas Jail Project, Texas Jail Project (January 2021)
- Chris Vaughn, Good will of others puts Fort Worth native, 44, on path to redemption, Fort Worth Star Telegram (July 2011)
- Peer Voices, Texas Jail Project (2019-2020)
- Barriers to Rapidly Growing Professions State Fact Sheets, National Employment Law Project (December 2020)
- Fair Chance Licensing Reform: Opening Pathways for People with Records to Join Licensed Professions, National Employment Law Project (December 2019)
Race + Criminal Legal System: Collateral Consequences Part I
As Michelle Alexander observed in The New Jim Crow, “It is legal today to discriminate against individuals with criminal records in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of education opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal."
Much like the Jim Crow Laws that relegated African Americans to a permanent and multi-generational underclass, collateral consequences stemming from criminal convictions have decimated entire communities. The vast array of consequences imposed on those with criminal records has hit communities of color the hardest, largely due to disproportionate policing and prosecutorial practices within the criminal legal system.
This webinar features Cynthia W. Roseberry, Deputy Director for the National Policy Advocacy Department for the ACLU (moderator); Rob DeLeon, Vice President of Programs for The Fortune Society; David Singleton, Executive Director for the Ohio Justice & Policy Center; and Quintin Williams, Program Officer for the Gun Violence Prevention and Justice Reform Program at The Joyce Foundation.
- Conviction, Imprisonment, and Lost Earnings: How Involvement with the Criminal Justice System Deepens Inequality, The Brennan Center for Justice (September 2020)
- Williams, Q., & Rumpf, C., What’s After Good?: The Burden of Post-Incarceration Life, 8 J. of Qualitative Crim. Just. & Criminology 3 (2020)
- David Singleton, Restoring Humanity by Forgetting the Past, 81 Ohio St. L.J. 6 (2020)
- Report to the United Nations on Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System, The Sentencing Project (April 2018)
- Collateral Consequences of the War on Drugs, The ACLU (January 2003)
- Words From Prison: The Collateral Consequences of Incarceration, The ACLU
- Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (The New Yorker book review by Anna Altman and Katia Bachko)
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration by Reuben Jonathan Miller (NPR book review by Ericka Taylor)