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Why Oregon offers more prospects for those with criminal records

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2020 | Life After Conviction |

A criminal record can affect one’s life long after a conviction and beyond jail time. Its far-reaching consequences can influence your eligibility for college, employment and have devastating personal and social consequences, depending on the crime.

Employment prospects for those with criminal records

Finding work with a criminal record, especially work in a licensed occupation, can be incredibly challenging. Oregon provides more opportunities than many states for individuals who have a criminal history, so it’s fortunate that you live where you do.

Approximately one in three adults have criminal records. Unfortunately, numerous states have blanket bans on granting occupational licenses to individuals with criminal records. Keep in mind, occupational licenses are necessary for many occupations, not just professions like doctor or lawyer. For example, you need a license to practice medicine, but you also need a cosmetology license to become a hairstylist in all 50 states.

What’s different about Oregon

Due to legislative provisions, Oregon offers more prospects for those with criminal records than many other states. One such legislative provision is known as the ban the box law. This law prohibits employers from asking about a criminal record on an employment application. There can’t be a checkbox for if you have a criminal background on the paperwork. Employers can ask about your history at an interview but cannot disqualify a candidate solely on the grounds of a criminal conviction.

Apart from a teaching license, an employer cannot deny licenses for the sole reason of criminal conduct in the past. They must consider the crime’s relationship to the job at hand and the circumstances of the crime committed. The time that has passed between the application and the crime is also highly relevant. Now, a criminal conviction may still prevent you from holding certain jobs. If, say, you have a fraud conviction on your record within the last ten years and you apply for a job at a bank, you may not be eligible for that job. However, there are other jobs for which you could apply, and your application might be successful.

What this means for you?

Each employer will decide on the fitness of the individual for a given position on a case-by-case basis, which is to your advantage. It may allow you the chance to qualify for a license in Oregon that you would not have a chance at in another state. You are also more likely to get to the interview stage of the application process due to the ban the box law.