The second of my Examiner.com articles.
Ohio Governor's Office, DRC, DYS to host Cincy Collateral Consequences symposium
Cincinnati Crime Examiner
Like many former felons, I have struggled with obtaining gainful employment after completing my sentence and released into society. Despite graduating cum laude with a Bachelor's degree from a major university, I found myself stocking shelves for minimum wage, and it took me seven months to find that job. I was one of the lucky ones, because the jobless rate among ex-felons is roughly five times higher than citizens without criminal records. There is a definite link between unemployment and recidivism, but many businesses routinely discriminate against individuals with criminal records. As the number of US citizens with a criminal record tops 65 million, with nearly 750,000 singled out for inclusion on the National Sex Offender Registry, the need for reintegration programs is integral to reduce recidivism.
Ohio is adressing this problem by hosting a symposium entitled " Addressing Collateral Consequences in Ohio, Part 4: Clearing the Road to Gainful Employment," Held from 10am to 2pm on February 29th, 2012 at The Vineyard Church Healing Center in Springdale, OH.This is an opportunity to address the many barriers ex-felons face in obtaining and maintaining gainful employment. According to the event flier, there will be a number of workshops at this event:
"Driver’s License Suspension/Infraction/Indigent Fees - Ohio has many convictions that result in losing driving privileges where there is not a direct nexus to a driving offense - i.e. non-payment of child support, trespassing and shoplifting under $100. This workgroup will focus on the civil and criminal penalties directly associated with this topic.
Fair Hiring Practices/Expungement - This workgroup will focus on employment barriers associated with the State of Ohio’s application process and discussion of Ohio’s expungement process for misdemeanor and felony convictions.
Child Support Practices - Currently child support orders and arrearages continue to accrue while an inmate is incarcerated, even though their income drastically decreases during the incarceration period causing the offender to have less earning power once released, due to the barriers associated with a criminal conviction. This workgroup will focus on changes to arrearages that accumulate while a person is incarcerated, modifications to child support orders and driver’s license suspensions and reinstatement fees associated with non-payment of child support.
Collateral Consequences- Research provided by the University of Cincinnati found Collateral Consequences in more than 800 places in Ohio laws and administrative rules. This workgroup will focus on a system that is publicly available to criminal justice professionals/stakeholders and returning citizens.
Juvenile Justice- Many policymakers do not realize that collateral sanctions impact youth adjudicated to DYS. This workgroup will focus on the breach of confidentiality of juvenile records and the educational needs for youth returning to their communities.
Order of Limited Relief - This workgroup will focus on creating an Order of Limited Relief for ex-offenders who seek relief from mandatory disabilities pertaining to employment and other barriers, in some cases, years after the conviction has occurred."
I suggested there should be a workshop specifically for sex offenders, who face even more restrictions as a result of the public registry, but at the moment there is not anything planned specifically for registrants.
Below is the contact information for more information on this event.
February 29, 2012
10:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.
(Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m.)
Healing Center Cincinnati
11345 Century Circle W.
Springdale, Ohio 45246
Please RSVP to:
No later than February 24, 2012