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Council President Harrell’s Statement on Passage of State Bill to Help People with Criminal Records Secure Vocational Jobs

Council President Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Education, Equity and Governance Committee, issued the below statement applauding the State Legislature’s passage of SHB 1553 on Thursday with a unanimous vote.  The Certificate for Restoration of Opportunity Program (CROP) will help people with criminal histories gain access to jobs that require a vocational license:

“Currently, a person with a criminal record cannot attain jobs in more than 90 career paths that require vocational licenses, including barbers, commercial fishers, or dental hygienists. With the Governor’s signature, the bill will establish a statewide program allowing an individual to file for a civil motion certifying that the required time had passed without any new arrests or convictions, and had met all the terms of their sentence. By meeting conditions, a vocational job license may be granted.

“I thank our State Representatives and Senators, Merf Ehman of Columbia Legal Services, Bill Hinkle of Rental Housing Association, and the strong coalition of community leaders for their dedication and hard work on the bill. It is tremendous and exciting to see bipartisan support and leadership on a bill that will change people’s lives for the better.

“This bill makes it easier for people to get jobs, and if someone has a job, they’re substantially more likely to successfully reintegrate into society.”

In 2015, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved Resolution 31637, affirming the City’s support for the Certificate for Restoration of Opportunity Program (CROP) and calling on City departments to convene a prisoner and community corrections re-entry work group to coordinate and strengthen the City’s efforts to assist re-entry. The work group will identify opportunities for more effective coordination with other criminal justice agencies and develop a set of additional recommendations the City can implement to facilitate prisoner re-entry and remove unnecessary barriers to employment and housing.

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