Trent England | January 14, 2019
Bill would let former prisoners work
If a person commits a crime, does his time, and then gets out of prison, should that person be allowed to get a job? Of course, that would seem like the best-case scenario: turn tax consumers into tax payers. Unfortunately, some laws and rules in Oklahoma do prohibit people with long-ago felony convictions from getting certain jobs. Sometimes that makes sense, but sometimes it does not.
A proposal by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom would deal with instances where it does not make sense. Senate Bill 101 would make sure that Oklahomans with long-ago criminal convictions can work in fields like architecture and cosmetology. It would not apply if the criminal conviction was directly related to the field of work, but otherwise, after 10 years, none of these licensing boards could deny a person a license just because of the past conviction.
Measures like this one show that Oklahoma legislators remain concerned about criminal justice reforms. Anything that helps get people back into steady jobs has the potential to reduce recidivism rates (the rate at which people coming out of jail or prison commit additional crimes) and thus lower the overall crime rate and incarceration rate in Oklahoma.
David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow
Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.