Tuesday, January 07, 2020 - Updated: 12:53 pm
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference Dec. 18 thanked members of the state House for giving former inmates a path to becoming responsible members of society through passage of House Bill 1477.
Sponsored by state Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, the bill passed easily with strong bipartisan support and now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
In an effort to combat recidivism, Pennsylvania correctional institutions regularly train inmates in professional skills. Yet, after their release, the state often denies them a professional license to practice in the industry in which the state had trained them. This happens even when the crime for which they were convicted was unconnected to their desired profession. House Bill 1477 corrects this discrepancy while enacting safeguards to ensure that individuals are not endangered by those who should not be professionally licensed.
“Once people have paid their debts to society, we should not block them from becoming productive members of society,” said PCC Executive Director Eric Failing. “Not only will this help lower recidivism, but it will help repair families by giving their loved ones a second chance.”
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is based in Harrisburg and is the public affairs arm of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops.