A patchwork of restrictions imposed by Indiana laws, regulations, and policies keep ex-offenders from being employed in certain public- and private-sector fields or obtaining professional licenses, says the Indianapolis Star. Sometimes the rules aren’t applied consistently. One example: State law allows denial of an elevator mechanic license to those who have been convicted of some crimes and requires it for others. The license application approaches the issue more broadly, asking if the applicant has even been charged with a crime.
Just how many jobs are affected — and whether some restrictions even make sense or are applied correctly — are questions that Gov. Mitch Daniels hopes to answer soon. He has asked all state agencies to participate in an inventory of such rules. In Florida, an exhaustive study three years ago estimated that four in 10 jobs in that state’s economy were closed to felons or at least subject to state-created criminal background checks. In a letter to agency heads June 7, Daniels noted that breaking down obstacles to employment would address “the number one indicator for preventing recidivism.” He wrote, “The inventory will allow us to look at the restrictions and assess whether they are carefully tailored to protect public safety in the manner intended or if they unduly close doors of employment opportunity and work against the goal of successful reintegration.”