What do funeral directors, barbers, roofers, accountants and real estate agents have in common? You can’t be one in Illinois if you have a criminal record.
Legislation under consideration in Springfield would allow people who have served their prison sentences to apply for certain occupational licenses and not be denied on the sole basis of their criminal records.
Lisa Creason went to prison when she was 20 for attempted robbery after she stole money from a cash register at a restaurant. More than two decades later, Creason is fighting to get her nursing license. This bill doesn’t cover nursing. However, Creason supports it because she says it would reduce the welfare population, lower the number of repeat offenders, and save Illinois taxpayers many hard-earned dollars every year.
“These are all trades that could enable an individual to be self-sufficient, contribute to the community, and better our economy,” Creason said. “Things these people are allowed to do inside the prisons, but not allowed to do outside the prisons.”
The bill would still allow for denial on the basis of relevant crimes. But under House Bill 5973, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation would need to give a written reason as to why it intended to deny someone a license.
According to the Institute for Justice, 1 in 3 Americans need permission from the government to work.