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mdgaga wrote 6 articles and got 0 comments. The last article was submitted on 28/02/15

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Date 28/02/15 04:59 Views 6 Сomments 0

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<P>offenders are denied job licenses</P><P></P><P>In 1997, Kyrone Pinkston's then wife accused him of sexually assaulting her. He was charged, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation, but after failing to comply with the rules of his supervision, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.</P><P></P><P>A barber by profession, Pinkston could not renew his license in prison, and it had expired by the time he was released in 2008. When he reapplied, his ex wife offered her support, writing that he had grown into "a remarkable man and father." A barbershop owner confirmed that Pinkston would have a job when he reclaimed his license.</P><P></P><P>But the agency that licenses barbers, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, rejected Pinkston's application. When he appealed, a state administrative law judge agreed that permitting Pinkston to cut hair presented an unacceptable threat to the public.</P><P> ;</P><P>" ;Because his only victim was his ex wife, it is possible that Mr. Pinkston's sexual crimes suggest that he is less of a risk to the general public," Judge William Newchurch wrote in his decision. "But that does not mean that the risk is reduced to zero."</P>< P></P><P>T oday, the 41 year old Pinkston lives in Fort Worth in his mother's house, waiting [url=www.cheapjerseyswholesale.us.com]cheap nfl jerseys[/url] to reapply for his license. "I'm not making anything," he said. "Just trying to stay above water."</P>< ;P></P><P> He isn't alone. Thousands of applicants are denied state licenses to work in more than 100 occupations every year because of their criminal pasts, a number that advocates say understates the true volume because others don't bother applying. Although they are a fraction of the total prisoners released, [url=www.cheapnfljerseystn.com]wholesale nfl jerseys[/url] criminal justice experts say, the licensing roadblocks highlight the obstacles all ex prisoners face when seeking work challenges that could increase as lawmakers contemplate cutting educational and vocational programs for offenders.</P><P></P><P>In many cases, the caution seems well deserved: The crimes committed by the applicant displayed behavior too risky to bet the public's safety. But not always.</P><P></P><P>Last year, the Texas secretary of state's office rejected Melinda Diamond's application for a notary commission because of a misdemeanor assault in which she pulled her boyfriend's ear and yanked a chain from his neck, actions the [url=www.cheapnfljerseystn.com]wholesale jerseys[/url] state's licensing lawyers concluded were "crimes of moral turpitude" rendering her unworthy of the commission, court records show.</P><P></P><P>Jim Hix's application for a real estate broker's license was denied because of DWI convictions even though he'd been sober three years. In 2009, the state revoked Dimas Pena's electrician's license because of a misdemeanor theft case for which he received deferred adjudication.</P>&l t;P></P><P> ;In court documents, Pena, of Houston, said he'd been doing electrical work for two decades and it was the only occupation he knew. "Losing my license will destroy my life," he said.</P><P></P><P>Economy adds to woes</P><P></P><P>This spring, state legislators facing historic deficits have proposed deep cuts in programs designed to help prisoners prepare for life after release. In March, Florence Shapiro, R Plano, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, said the money the state spends each year on the Windham School District, the public school system for prisoners, was expendable.</P>< P></P><P>& quot;This is the biggest waste of money I think I've seen," she said. Lawmakers have proposed eliminating programs designed to help former inmates find work, as well.</P><P></P><P>Social workers and criminal justice experts say that doing away with such re entry programs is short sighted. Ex prisoners already have unemployment rates many times higher than the general population. Studies show unemployed ex cons are more likely to return to crime.</P><P></P><P>Not only does that create more victims, it ends up costing taxpayers, said Nancy La Vigne, director of the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center. "It's not like we have the money to pay to lock these people back up," she said.</P><P></P><P>In recent years it's become even harder for former offenders to find work. When they do, the pay is often paltry.</P><P> ;</P><P>" ;In a bad economy, they're behind someone with a college education or even high school diploma," said Laura Smith, executive director of the Crime Prevention Institute, which helps Travis State Jail ex inmates find work.</P><P></P><P>The average income for Texas prisoners released last year was below the $11,000 the government considers poverty level for one person.</P><P></P><P>Some of that can be attributed to offenders' lower overall educational levels and higher incidences of mental illness and drug use. But many of the most lucrative, in demand jobs trades licensed by the state have been ruled off limits to applicants with criminal backgrounds.</P>< ;P></P><P> Doctors and nurses can be denied permission to work because of a conviction. But so can plumbers, auto parts recyclers, court interpreters, elevator inspectors and boxing match timekeepers.</P>< ;P></P><P> "Nearly a third of the Texas workforce is now licensed or in a regulated industry," [url=www.cheapjerseyswholesale.us.com]cheap jerseys[/url] concluded a 2008 study by the Center for Effective Justice that counted more than 150 licensed occupations in Texas that have restrictions for criminal convictions.</P>< ;P></P><P> Specifics vary from occupation to occupation, and disqualifying crimes are supposed to be related to the job. Locksmiths must be felony free for 10 years; barbers generally can't have recent drug convictions.</P>< ;P></P><P> Regulators say they strive to balance a person's right to work with the public's safety and give all applicants careful and individual consideration. "We take them on a case by case basis," said Susan Stanford, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. "Something you did 20 years ago could prevent you from getting a license in one occupation but not in another."</P>& lt;P></P><P&g t;The number of ex cons denied occupational licenses accounts for a tiny percentage of the tens of thousands of applicants state agencies handle. The licensing and regulation department, for example, which oversees 50 professions, has rejected about 1,200 applicants since 2008 because of their criminal pasts. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which licenses private security guards and locksmiths, has rejected 6,500.</P><P></P><P>New laws also allow ex cons to informally ask state regulatory agencies if they are eligible for a particular license before submitting and paying for an application.</P>< ;P></P><P> At the same time, licensing agencies are prying deeper into applicants' brushes with the law, said Louis Leichter, an Austin lawyer whose firm often represents ex offenders seeking licenses. Where once applicants were required to disclose only convictions, now many must also explain incidents ending in pretrial diversion and deferred adjudication, he said.</P><P></P><P>And every legislative session, more occupations are contemplated for new regulation, the process that can exclude those with criminal histories. In the past, lawmakers have proposed regulating sheet metal workers and lactation consultants. This year, bills have been filed that would require licensing and criminal history checks for roofers, foundation repairmen and commercial dog or cat breeders.</P>

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