New Initiative reduces Employment Barriers for Ex-Offenders

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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) have announced a change in policy that will streamline the professional licensing process for men and women being released from prison.

This new initiative, which is effective immediately, allows offenders who have completed the required coursework for Barbering and Cosmetology will be able to apply for their professional license and meet with the licensing board via video conference up to six months before their release or parole date.

The policy change reverses the previous approach that prohibited offenders from starting the application process until they were already released from the institution.

IDFPR Secretary Bryan Schneider says this pathway gives ex-offenders an immediate opportunity upon exiting prison, but also supplies local economies with able employees.

IDOC Acting Director John Baldwin agrees that this is a step in the right direction.

“When men and women know they’ll be rewarded for their hard work, they are more inclined to participate in programming that will improve their odds of success in the community,” Baldwin explains.

This effort is a direct response to the Illinois Criminal Justice and Sentencing Commission’s recommendation to “remove unnecessary barriers to those convicted of crimes from obtaining professional licenses.”

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