NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on a bill introduced by Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) that would help reformed former felons seek employment. Senate Bill 276 will help spur job creation, reduce crime, and protect businesses from needless lawsuits. The bill will allow former criminals to petition courts for a certificate of employment restoration, and it will protect future employers who hire these new job-seekers from claims of negligent hiring.
“At a job fair last October, the number one request I heard was for legislation that would help reformed felons,” said Senator Kelsey. “With this bill, these individuals will now have a meaningful path to obtaining employment and leading a law-abiding life.”
Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law and Director of the Criminal Justice program at Vanderbilt University Law School, testified in favor of Senator Kelsey’s legislation. Professor Slobogin stated that providing a means for employment is the best way to reduce criminal recidivism.
This legislation will especially impact those former felons who may have been convicted of a nonviolent crime many years ago and have already paid their debt to society by fulfilling all of a court’s sentencing requirements.
“This bill protects the public by requiring a judge to determine that an individual does not pose a risk to public safety before he can receive a certificate of employment restoration,” said Sen. Kelsey. “This bill will help prevent future crimes by ensuring these individuals have access to good paying jobs and are not tempted to return to a life of crime.”