In addition to discrimination and barriers put in place by employers such as the criminal record check-box on employment applications, those with conviction records are often banned from employment in certain occupations and industries, many of which provide high-paying jobs.

All 50 states and Washington, D.C. have legislation restricting employment for those with felony conviction records (for any type of felony), as well as restrictions on employment for non-felony convictions including controlled substances. These are in addition to mandatory restrictions for other types of misdemeanors, and discretionary restrictions for felonies and for specific types of misdemeanors,


which are not analyzed in this report.In total, there are over 6,000 mandatory employment restrictions for felonies, with an average of 123 restrictions per state.45 Every state has at least 41 mandatory restrictions on record, and several states have more than two hundred restrictions. Louisiana far exceeds the number of restrictions in any other state, with 389 mandatory restrictions.

In addition to these restrictions, there are also 112 mandatory federal restrictions. These regulations restrict employment in a number of different occupations, such as employment as a nuclear power security personnel, employment requiring a loan originator license, employment or contract with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and employment as a passport acceptance agent, among others.



While occupations that are banned vary some from state to state, there are some categories of occupations that come up in many states. Health care, law enforcement, and legal services – all relatively high-paying fields – are some of the most commonly restricted occupation categories.

These categories also include occupations in the top 60 occupations with the most projected job openings, like licensed vocational nurses, police officers, and lawyers.46 Restrictions in these occupations can impose a significant burden and restrict higher-wage employment for those with conviction records.




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