|Recommendation: States should support the employment of qualified people with criminal records by providing a way for these individuals to demonstrate rehabilitation and lift statutory bars to jobs or licenses that result from a conviction history. States should advise people with criminal records that certificates are available and should streamline the application process.
Best practices: States have adopted programs that allow eligible individuals to obtain certificates that serve as evidence of rehabilitation. In New York for example, two types of certificates are available that remove occupational and licensing bars resulting from a conviction and create a presumption of rehabilitation, N.Y. CORRECT. LAW §§ 700-7031. In New Jersey, the Parole Board may grant certificates of good conduct to assist a qualified person’s rehabilitation by precluding licensing authorities from disqualifying or discriminating against an applicant based on a criminal conviction, N.J. ADMIN. CODE tit. 10A, §§ 70-8.1 et seq. California offers certificates that provide evidence of rehabilitation to people convicted of felony offenses, CA. PENAL §§ 4852.01(a)-(d) and 4852.17. Other states that offer opportunities for people with criminal records to obtain restoration of civil rights/certificates of rehabilitation for employment or occupational licensing purposes are Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, and Iowa.