Your criminal sentence doesn’t necessarily end when you get out of jail. Criminal records prevent many Americans from entering jobs requiring occupational licensing. 66 million Americans have criminal records; 30% of jobs require occupational licensing. Licensed jobs range from electrician to medical professional to hair braider.
Matthew Mitchell is a Senior Research Fellow and the Director of the Equal Liberty Initiative at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Today, we briefly recap occupational licensing, what it is, and its effects. Then, we go on to talk about the unequal burden of occupational licensing, particularly on those with criminal records, and potential reforms.