A Pennsylvania court unanimously ruled unconstitutional a state law that prevents convicted criminals from getting full-time jobs in nursing homes or long-term-care facilities, reports NPR. By a 7-0 vote, the court found the law violates the due process rights of otherwise law-abiding people who may have run afoul of the justice system decades earlier. The court concluded that a lifetime ban on employment for people convicted of crimes is not “substantially related” to the “stated objective” in the Older Adults Protective Services Act — to safeguard the elderly.
Advocates said the ruling would give momentum to a nationwide movement to allow rehabilitated criminals more access to housing and employment in fast-growing sectors of the economy. Social science researchers say the risk of returning to crime declines as convicts age. Three years ago the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission warned that excluding job candidates because of criminal history can have a disparate racial impact. Tad LeVan, a Philadelphia lawyer, said the “draconian lifetime employment ban, which bars otherwise qualified individuals from employment, is not just unconstitutional; it is also bad public policy.”