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Local study aims to reduce job barriers for past criminals

Posted at 12:21 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 14:10:11-05

TULSA, Okla. — Life after incarceration can be tough. From finding a job to finding a place to live, many people with a criminal past can face several obstacles.

Workforce Tulsa, in collaboration with the Lobeck Taylor Foundation and the University of Tulsa's College of Law, released a study that shows there are five main barriers for individuals with a past conviction.

These include private market challenges, expungement challenges, occupational licensing, past-due child support and housing.

"If you give these people an opportunity to get a job, not only do they not reenter the criminal justice system, but they also offer a better community all around," says Kelsey Harrison, a TU law student.

She was one of the people behind the research study to further examine the challenges this demographic faces and how to battle the problem. The group came up with several recommendations for community organizations and employers, such as providing hiring incentives and simplifying the expungement process.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate in the U.S. About eight percent of Oklahomans are incarcerated.

To read the full Workforce Solutions Study, click here.

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