Maya Dimant, Friedman Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor in the Prisoner & Reentry Clinic, testified before the DC Council on January 26, 2020 in support of a law to lift barriers to occupational licensing for citizens returning home from prison. To demonstrate the importance of this bill, Professor Dimant shared the story of Mr. H, a clinic client, who is about to be released on parole after 25 years in prison. Mr. H earned parole at his first hearing, with community volunteers naming him a model prisoner, a "brilliant writer" and an "incredible role model." Extraordinarily, based on training he pursued while incarcerated, Mr. H was able to secure employment as a plumbing apprentice upon his return to the community. But to turn his apprenticeship into a profession, Mr. H has to obtain a plumbing license from the District of Columbia government, which can refuse to grant one based on his felony record. Professor Dimant spoke to the significance of granting hardworking returning citizens access to professional licenses so they can achieve economic opportunity and the dignity of self-sufficiency.
Watch Professor Dimant's testimony here.