CREATE “CERTIFICATES OF REHABILITATION” THAT HELP PEOPLE WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS OBTAIN JOBS AND HOUSING

Summary of State Laws

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Arizona: For first time offenders who have not previously been convicted of any other felony, civil rights that were lost or suspended, including occupational bars, are automatically restored if the offender completes all of the sentencing terms: probation, imprisonment, and/or payment of fine or restitution. For offenders with two or more felonies, civil rights are restored only by application to the judge who discharges the offender at the end of the probation period or the judge by whom the offender was sentenced. To see Arizona’s law, click here.

  • California: A certificate of rehabilitation may be obtained that declares that an individual convicted of a felony is rehabilitated and may relieve an individual from registering as a sex offender. The offender can apply for the certificate after completing a prison sentence or being released on parole. In addition, the offender must reside in California for three years, must not have been since imprisoned, and must live an “honest and upright life,” conduct himself or herself with “sobriety and industry” and must “exhibit a good moral character and shall conform to and obey the laws of the land.” While a certificate alone cannot remove occupational bars, it is a prerequisite to obtaining a pardon, which may relieve such a bar. To see California’s law, click here.


  • Illinois: Certificates of Relief from Disabilities (CRDs) can be issued by the Prison Review Board or by a court to anyone convicted of a nonviolent crime or offense, but not more than one felony. CRDs serve to restore eligibility for fifteen specified occupational fields that otherwise bar people with criminal convictions. The statute requires the occupational licensing agencies to consider eight enumerated factors to determine whether there is a direct relationship between the previous conviction and the license being sought or if issuing the license would pose an unreasonable risk to people and property. To see Illinois’ law, click here .

  • Nevada: Individuals can apply for restoration of civil rights once they have served the sentence and been released from prison. Individuals may also apply for restoration of civil rights six months after being granted an honorable discharge from probation or parole. Finally, an offender may apply for a pardon, which may or may not include restoration of civil rights but does not lift occupational bars. To see Nevada’s law, click here.


  • New Jersey: If not incompatible with the welfare of society, the Parole Board may grant certificates of good conduct to assist an individual’s rehabilitation that preclude licensing authorities from disqualifying or discriminating against an applicant based upon a criminal conviction. To be eligible, the applicant must have been paroled by the Board, and two years must have elapsed since any similar application was denied. To see New Jersey’s regulation, click here.

  • New York: Certificates of rehabilitation take two forms: Certificates of Relief from Disabilities (“CRDs”) and Certificates of Good Conduct (“CGCs”). Both lift occupational bars.
    • CRDs are available to individuals with any number of misdemeanor convictions but no more than one felony conviction. Separate CRDs are necessary for each conviction. Temporary CRDs may be granted while an individual is on probation or parole, and at completion of the sentence it becomes permanent unless revoked. The sentencing court and the Board of Parole have the authority to grant CRDs. As of February 2003, approximately 99,070 CRDs were granted.
    • CGCs are available to individuals with two or more felony convictions and any number of misdemeanor convictions. Availability of CGC varies depending on the severity of the offense. One CGC will cover an individual’s entire criminal history. As of February 2003, the Board of Parole granted approximately 1,826 CGCs.

      To see New York’s law, click here.
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