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Recidivism Worse in California Due to Professional Standards

Recidivism sign

As many individuals with a criminal record can attest, escaping a cycle of illegal behavior can be a serious challenge. Not only might persons with criminal records face pressure from friends and peers to continue living a life of crime, but they may also feel that, with a criminal record, there are few other options available to them through which they can make a living. California residents with a criminal record may have an even harder time than the average American at forging an honest life after being convicted of a crime. This fact makes it critically important to hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a crime in California.

According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, California has one of the highest rates of recidivism (the rate at which persons convicted of a crime will end up returning to prison on different charges). According to the study, within three years, 58% of all those who served time in prison in California will end up returning to prison. Nationwide, the average (when not counting California) is 40%.

One reason for why these recidivism rates are so high is the increased number of jobs that require a professional license. Across the country, a White House study has estimated that 25% of professions require some form of licensing, but California holds the distinction of being the state with the second-highest number of licensed professions. Professionals such as tree trimmers, landscape workers, funeral attendants, and farm labor contractors all must be licensed in California, but in few other states.

In California, a criminal conviction should not be the sole reason for the denial of a professional license unless the conviction was “substantially related” to the field. However, even if an individual with a record were able to obtain a license legally, licenses are expensive to obtain, often requiring hundreds of hours of expensive training and substantial fees. These costs can be impossible to afford for someone who has recently been incarcerated. Additional research shows that states with the most onerous licensing laws have experienced a nearly-10% rise in recidivism, while those states with lower licensing restrictions have seen recidivism decrease in recent years. Rather than wage an uphill battle to get back on your feet after a conviction and prison sentence, seek an experienced California criminal defense attorney to represent you, to help ensure you remain a free and productive member of society.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Ventura, seek representation that will ensure your rights are protected; contact Ventura criminal defense lawyer Paul Tyler for a consultation, at 805-889-9000.

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