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Criminal justice reform could ease labor shortage

Justice Department records show nearly 5 million Floridians have been arrested at some point.

It’s no secret that businesses across Florida are experiencing a workforce crisis, forcing some to shorten hours, close on some days and stop providing some important services to customers.

However, there are countless Floridians who are eager to get back to work but face considerable barriers in doing so. Many of these barriers — especially those faced by people with arrest records — don’t serve a benefit to society and can be lifted to help support the workforce and local economy.  

In Florida, being arrested — even when there is no conviction — can still stay with a person for the rest of their lives, making finding employment and economic stability difficult. Even the most minor contact with the criminal justice system from years prior can prevent people from getting jobs. These people are often eager to work and put the past behind them yet face barriers that can be close to impossible to overcome.