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Does Society Benefit From Blocked Careers?

Which is safer: denying ex-cons a job in their chosen profession or having them gainfully employed? The Austin American Statesman explores this issue here.

Each year the debate continues as ex-offenders with criminal pasts are denied state licenses to work as doctors, nurses, barbers, roofers, foundation repairmen, parts recyclers, court interpreters, locksmiths, security guards, plumbers, elevator inspectors, boxing match timekeepers, commercial dog or cat breeders and more than 100 other occupations (nearly a third of the Texas workforce) by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

According to The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, each applicant is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and denial for one license for one occupation doesn’t necessarily automatically guarantee denial for another one.

As access to these career fields continue to be blocked, the economy isn’t making things any easier as state legislators such as Republican Florence Shapiro, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, claims the money the state spends each year on the Windham School District, the public school system for prisoners, should be eliminated. Shapiro thinks it’s the biggest waste of money she’s seen.

The question remains: If rehabilitating people is part of reintegrating them into society, how is this possible when they cannot land a job?

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