Kentucky Enacts Law That Will Benefit Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
Last year, roughly 20 states joined the White House in declaring April as Second Chance Month. Fittingly, one year later, Kentucky enacted a law aimed at improving reentry opportunities when Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 497 (HB 497). The measure provides a certificate of employability for individuals following successful completion of reentry programs while incarcerated. Representative Kimberly Moser, who serves as the ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force Chair, sponsored the bill.
The law requires the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) to remove barriers to reentry. Besides issuing basic documentation such as identification, and helping inmates with resumes upon release, the DOC is compelled to issue a certificate of employability which will include the education achievements while incarcerated and job skills assessment test results.
HB 497 will help Kentucky drive down its 41% recidivism rate and increase public safety by empowering individuals with meaningful second chances. By enacting this law, individuals who were incarcerated will have a better chance at success upon release from prison.
The ALEC model Resolution in Support of Reentry Programs provides ideas for states to consider in supporting opportunities for those with a criminal history to gain meaningful employment upon release. In addition, the Civil Liability for Employers Hiring Ex-Offenders Act would prevent employers who hire those convicted of certain crimes from being sued on that basis alone.