Report Decries PA License Suspensions as Barrier to Jobs

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Pennsylvania should stop automatically suspending driver’s licenses for non-driving-related drug convictions, according to a criminal justice group report cited by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Prison Policy Initiative focused on 12 states, including Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., that automatically suspend driver’s licenses for all drug convictions. Only Virginia, Michigan, Florida and New Jersey suspend more licenses annually than Pennsylvania. Such policies are a relic of the “war on drugs” and should be changed, the report’s authors said. The laws make it harder for those with such convictions to get or jobs, the report said.

“These suspensions are part of a whole world of suspensions that are completely unrelated to driving,” such as suspensions for child support and unpaid court fines, said Joshua Aiken, policy fellow for the Massachusetts-based Prison Policy Initiative. License suspensions should be reserved for unsafe drivers, he said, and not for other criminal justice issues. “Every one of our clients who we handle a suspension for, it is a barrier to employment,” said Morgan Jenkins, an attorney at the Neighborhood Legal Services Association in Pittsburgh.

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