Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Final grade: B

Exclusion Grade


Relevance Grade


Due Process Grade



  • Blocks boards from using arrests, as well as annulled and expunged records to disqualify applicants. 
  • Boards must evaluate multiple factors, including any evidence of rehabilitation, personal testimonials, and the time elapsed since the crime, for an ex-offender’s license application.

Areas of Improvement

  • Strengthen safeguards for due process by requiring a petition process and placing the burden of proof on the state. 

Updated July 2020

In 2020, Rhode Island enacted its first overarching state law to shield ex-offenders during the licensing process. Previously, Rhode Island was tied for dead last for its utter lack of protections.

A 2021 reform repealed provisions that authorized disqualification based on offenses of “moral turpitude,” though curiously, the reform doesn’t stop boards from using “good moral character” to disqualify applicants.

R.I. Gen. Laws §28-5.1-14

Overarching ban on blanket bans Yes
Ban on considering arrest records Yes
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records Yes, annulled and expunged records
Time limit No limit
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards No, but the state repealed disqualifying based on crimes of moral turpitude for multiple licenses
Relationship between the crime and the license sought "Substantially related"
Required factors for consideration
Rehabilitation Yes
Time elapsed since crime was committed Yes
Age when crime was committed Yes
Employment History No
Testimonials Yes
Due Process
Petition Process No
Burden of Proof Both unspecified
Right to appeal Yes
Written notice requirement Yes