A criminal conviction can cause many issues in your professional life. Employers can fully use it against you, and when it comes to professional licenses, it can make it impossible to get one.
However, the state has created a law to help you. According to the Mississippi Legislature, Senate Bill 2781 became the Fresh Start Act, which gives you a chance at securing a professional license in certain occupations.
How it works
The Fresh Start Act covers nine specific occupations. These include tattooing, brain injury rehabilitation, dialysis technician, pediatric extended care center, respiratory care, EMT, medical radiation, well driller and eye enucleation. The boards for licensing of these occupations are allowed to consider criminal records if they relate to the job. Otherwise, they cannot.
Why it happened
The reason why lawmakers put this act into law is that they felt there were too many barriers to finding good employment for those with a criminal history. Many of the professions where you can get a license through the act are perfect opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals because they are entry-level but pay well.
It is also helpful if you had a professional license before your criminal conviction because it allows you to reenter your profession more easily. You no longer have to worry about exclusion simply because you now have a criminal record.
The Fresh Start Act eliminates the broad disqualifications that were seen across the board in many professions when it came to licensing. It is a move towards helping to prevent reoffending and allow people a chance to better themselves after a criminal conviction.