Normally this Felony Friday feature focuses on specific incidents or issues that highlight the abuse of an individual felon. This week we have a bit of a change of pace and will focus on the plight of felons in one of the absolute worst states to be a felon, Oklahoma.
Thousands of felons in Oklahoma are restricted from holding all kinds of positions and jobs that “common folks” tend to take for granted. When it comes to being a felon, there might not be a worse state than Oklahoma. For starters Oklahoma leads the country in the incarceration of women and is number three for men.
In Oklahoma if you’re a felon, then you are prohibited from doing the following things:
- Sitting on a jury
- Running for public office within 15 years of completing sentence
- Being employed by the state
- Bearing arms
There are many states that don’t allow felons to do the above. However, the laws in Oklahoma go above and beyond to prevent felons from holding jobs or positions that allow them to contribute to society.
In Oklahoma if you’re a felon and are hoping to hold any of the following careers, then you’re out of luck. You can forget about the following careers or roles: corporate director, bank officer, executor or administrator of an estate, liquor dealer, funeral director, surveyor, physical therapist, chiropractor, official shorthand reporter, realtor, or bondsman.
Additionally a “felon” can essentially forget the following professions: law, architecture, accounting, engineering, medicine, dentistry, electrologist, pharmacy, psychology, veterinary science, real estate appraisal, occupational therapy, marriage and domestic counseling, osteopathy, nursing, and cosmetology, as well as employment in such fields as a pawnbroker, polygraph examiner, security guard, or in the security alarm industry.
The aforementioned obstacles exist in addition to other long-term legal and social consequences that felons face regardless where the conviction occurred.
In my appearance on the Earning Freedom Podcast, hosted by Michael Santos, we talked extensively about the hurdles felons face during the hiring process. Specifically we discussed how difficult it can be for felons to get a fair shake during the resume selection process. Many felons are shut down prior to an interview based on the stigma associated with the crime they committed.
However, as we detailed above, it’s even worse for felons in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, felons aren’t even permitted to hold certain jobs, let alone interview for them. The laws in Oklahoma essentially label convicted felons second class citizens!
Thank you to Samantha Burnett for identifying this issuing and providing the research.
Check out Marc Clair’s interview with Justin Paperny on how is helping felons to reenter society and find legitimate work.
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