Removing Barriers to Employment Re-entry for Ex-Offenders

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) have implemented an initiative that streamlines the professional licensing process for men and women who are being released from prison.

Offenders who’ve 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. This common sense policy change reverses the previous approach, which prohibited offenders from starting the application process until they were already released from the institution.

This regulatory revision provides real change for those leaving incarceration, while supplying our local economies with able bodied employees at the ready.

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.” It is a small but critical first step in reducing employment barriers for ex-offenders and driving down the prison population in Illinois.