Project Overview

The number of people incarcerated in Florida surged by 265 percent between 1983 and 2018, a shift that reflects the growth of mass incarceration in the United States. Today, almost 1.5 million Floridians have a felony conviction. At the same time, occupational licensing to practice a trade or profession has increased dramatically in the state. State laws governing workforce development, particularly professional licensure regulations, limit opportunities and sometimes make it impossible for people with criminal records to work, earn a livable wage, and afford basic life necessities.

In this project, Tachana Joseph-Marc, senior policy analyst at the Florida Policy Institute, and Samuel R. Staley, director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University, will explore how Florida state regulations have stifled workforce development, the relationship between occupational licensing and recidivism, and policy proposals other states can employ to reduce barriers to workforce development for people with criminal records. They also will address how future research can expand the evidence base on the effects of occupational licensing on workforce development.


Economic context Executive Summary March 15, 2023

How Past Criminal Convictions Bar Floridians from Occupational Licensing Opportunities

In this report, the Florida Policy Institute and the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University highlight research exploring the relationship between occupational licensing and recidivism and the consequences of overregulation on workforce development. The authors also survey the landscape of Florida’s occupational licensing laws and policy reform efforts and present policy proposals to reduce professional licensing barriers for people with criminal records.

Tachana Joseph-Marc, Samuel R. Staley

Grantee Research

March 15, 2023