Jon Sanders writes about a new report from the National Employment Law Project, which looks at how state occupational licensing laws make it difficult for people with arrest and conviction records to find work. And if you have an arrest record, it’s even harder.

How, specifically, does our state impose barriers? This is from the NELP report:

  • Over one million people (15 percent of the adult population) with arrest or conviction records
  • 22 percent of the workforce employed in fields where they are required to have an occupational license
  • Over 16,000 people released from prison in 2015, an amount nearly 70 percent higher than in 2000
  • 641 separate disqualifications in state occupational licensing laws for having a conviction record (North Carolina has the 11th most disqualifications in the country; second in the Southeast)

Criminal justice reform is an issue that attracts concern from both sides of the political aisle. Will the two major parties work together to work toward common goals?