WORKINGfuture Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, there are more than 380 state laws that bar people with records from crucial everyday needs- – from employment, to education, to housing– ensuring a permanent second class status and a lifetime of stigmatization.

Even as the state reduces its incarcerated population, it is one of the nation’s leaders in erecting barriers for people with records that are near impossible to traverse.


  • In Rhode Island, there are 150 occupations that require certification and a license which can deny applicants based solely on their record — even if they were not convicted.
  • Ambiguous “good moral character” clauses – can enforce blanket bans on anyone with a conviction from jobs or services.
  • While people can receive training for jobs while incarcerated  – certified nursing assistant, pipefitter, hairdresser, or cosmetologist – they cannot obtain the licenses required by the state to perform those jobs.

70 percent of occupations in Rhode Island considered lower-income require an occupational license — putting jobs out of reach for anyone with a record.

In Rhode Island, the #WORKINGfuture campaign partners with local organizations led by directly impacted people to demand an end to the criminalization of people in this state.

We organize to:

End blanket exclusions of people with records from obtaining occupational licenses.

Support Rhode Island’s House Bill 5863 and Senate Bill 610.

Promote economic and racial justice in communities most harmed by mass criminalization.

All people with criminal records have a right to meaningful employment, affordable basic services, and dignity.

Join us as we create a #WORKINGfuture for all of Rhode Island.