A Completed Sentence, But Ongoing Punishment: How Past Criminal Convictions Bar Floridians from Occupational Licensing Opportunities

Executive Summary 

Florida’s regulations governing occupational licensing for returning citizens are among the most stringent in the nation. State laws either impose a permanent bar, disqualifying period, or other restrictions like the “good moral character” standard for returning citizens who are pursuing an occupational license. Florida heavily regulates occupations, and on average, it requires more training and orders higher fees to be eligible for licensing exams. In this report, Florida Policy Institute and the DeVoe Moore Center highlight various pieces of literature that have explored how over-regulation has stifled workforce development, the relationship between occupational licensing and recidivism (re-offending or returning to prison), and policy proposals that states can employ to reduce barriers to workforce development for those with past criminal records. The authors also provide an in-depth look at the current landscape of occupational licensing laws in Florida, how the state Legislature has approached reform, and the lessons that can be learned from other states. Lastly, this report includes recommendations on how future research can expand on this topic.

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