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Protections on the Right to Employment After a Felony Conviction Improving, But Still Minimal in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Law

Illinois felony charges, Wheaton criminal defense lawyerEmployment is needed to maintain a fulfilling and consistent lifestyle, yet earning a living from the employment available to you is not always possible. Those who have been convicted of a felony often struggle to find gainful employment. Thankfully, there have been some improvements made in recent years. However, a national analysis of the programs and protections that enable employment for felony offenders recently revealed that Illinois still has a long way to go in reducing recidivism rates throughout the state.

Where Recidivism and Employability Intersect

One might assume that recidivism and employability are not connected. After all, if an offender wishes not to reoffend, then they will simply avoid doing so, right? Not exactly. Those who struggle to obtain gainful employment after they have already paid their debt to society may return to criminal activity to support their family. It is not that reoffenders are immoral or simply do not care (at least not in all cases or circumstances). The reasoning may be is that it is difficult to stand by and watch your children or spouse go without food and basic necessities because you are unable to obtain employment.

Ways that Illinois is Already Working to Improve Employment Rates

In 2015, Illinois joined many other states for the "ban the box" initiative that prohibits employers from asking about a criminal record on job applications. This does not guarantee that the employer will not perform a background check, or even from outright asking them during the interview process. However, it does give the individual at least the chance to put themselves in front of the prospective employer. In some situations, this face-to-face interaction can make all the difference.

Still in Need of Improvement

As various industries have become regulated (often to protect public health or safety), more and more employees are required to hold a state license or certification to work. For example, nail technicians and roofers must now have certification in order to work, as do barbers and most workers within the healthcare industry. Having a felony conviction in Illinois bans workers from at least 118 different professional occupations. Some fields have recently been removed from the ban (barbering, cosmetology, roofing, and funeral service) because criminal offenses were deemed by the House to be irrelevant to the professions. 

Contact Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyers

It is critical that those facing criminal charges work to avoid a conviction. our firm offers aggressive representation for those who are currently facing felony charges in Illinois. Our Kane County criminal defense lawyer can even help you get your record sealed or expunged, which would improve your employability options. Call 630-871-1700 to schedule a free consultation today.

Source: 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-criminal-background-occupational-licensing-0427-biz-20160426-story.html

 

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