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  • Proposed Federal Legislation Would Help Returning Citizens Start Businesses
    “This bill will use the power of entrepreneurship to help returning citizens rebuild their lives and reenter their communities by giving them the training and capital they need to start businesses. It will give returning citizens one more tool in their reentry toolkit.” 
  • Florida House Passes Bill Mandating Individuals Convicted of Felons Pay All Fines and Fee Before They Can Vote
    In addition to November’s passage of Amendment 4 in Florida, which restores voting rights to ex-felons (with few exceptions) once their sentence is served, the Florida House of Representatives has passed a bill further limiting the conditions under which voting rights will be restored. With this bill, fees, fines, and court costs are extensions to one’s sentence, and must be paid in full before voting rights are restored. 
  • Redemption Project with Donald Lacy and Christopher Smith
    A father, after becoming an activist and advocate, turns to restorative justice to finally grieve his daughter’s murder. A tough and challenging process provides both victim and offender with opportunity to heal, progress, and forgive. 
  • First Chance Act Proposes Hiring Reform for Individuals with Criminal Records
    A bipartisan legislative effort would ban-the-box for most federal government jobs, hopefully resulting in less stigma around applicants with criminal backgrounds. Opening up job opportunities to formerly incarcerated individuals is essential to reducing recidivism rates. 
  • State Budgeting Matters: Ohio's State Budget As-Introduced
    The Center for Community Solutions provides an in-depth analysis of Ohio’s state budget under Governor Mike DeWine, outlining allocations to health and human services agencies. 
  • Policy Matters Recommends Principles for Criminal Justice Reform
    Policy Matters Ohio argues that criminal justice reform, at the state level, must include five core principles: Reclassificiation, Retroactive Application, Reformation of Probation-to-Prison Pipeline, Reduction of Sentences for Offenders who Earn It, and Reemployment for Ohioans Who’ve Served Their Time. 
  • VSU Professor's Research Ends Louisiana's Jim Crow Practice of Convicting Individuals with a Non-Unanimous Jury for Criminal Trials
    Post-slavery technicalities in the 13th Amendment allowed for constitutional laws rooted in racism to stand until one researcher built a movement around reversing it. Louisiana overwhelmingly supported reformation, and now requires unanimous jury decisions in criminal convictions. 
  • ACLU Michigan Challenges State Sex Offender Registry
    Laws surrounding the sex offender registry in Michigan have changed frequently throughout the years, being implemented retroactively and, as ruled in court, unconstitutionally. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit and the pressure is on the Michigan legislature to reform their sex offender registration laws. 
  • Cleveland Plans to Collect More Data on Consent Decree
    The consent decree between the City of Cleveland’s Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice from 2015 has tasked our police force with collecting more and more data, not just for research, but for impact purposes. Hopefully, soon enough, the data and civilian safety concerns will more directly correlate. 
  • Lorain County Jail Administrator Accepts Offer to Run Cuyahoga County Jails
    After five months of uncertain leadership for Cuyahoga County jails, Ronda Gibson, with over 14 years of experience in corrections facility management, will be taking over.
  • One in 11 Ohioans has a Felony Conviction. Isn't it Time they Received a Second Chance?  
    Cuyahoga County’s Office of Reentry, in conjunction with its community partners, hosted Reentry Week’s Restaurant Tour, highlighting businesses owned by those with or affected by criminal histories. Supporting and enhancing the profiles of these businesses shows a community that is accepting and encouraging of second-chance successes.
  • Baltimore Will Stop Prosecuting Marijuana Possession
    Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Tuesday her office would cease prosecuting people for possessing marijuana regardless of the quantity or the person’s criminal history. Mosby also requested the courts vacate convictions in nearly 5,000 cases of marijuana possession. 
  • Supreme Court Rules Unanimously Wednesday on Civil Forfeiture Case
    The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applies to the states, an outcome that could help rein in police’s seizure of property from criminal suspects. 
  • San Francisco to Dismiss All Marijuana Convictions Dating Back to 1975
    District Attorney George Gascon addressed the failed ‘war on drugs’ by vacating all marijuana possession convictions dating back to 1975. All marijuana misdemeanor conviction cases were immediately dismissed in February 2018, and anyone with arrest records stemming from misdemeanor marijuana possession would also have their records cleared. Finally, the city committed to reviewing felony possession cases of marijuana and, where appropriate, reclassify them as misdemeanor offenses. 
  • The 2019 Greater Cleveland Returned Citizen Symposium
    Building Wealth and Inspiring Civic Engagement: Saturday June 1, 2019 at 8:00 am to 11:45 am at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank 15500 Waterloo Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44110
  • Pilot Amnesty Program Can Reinstate Suspended Licenses for Eligible Drivers
    A new Ohio law will help individuals who have had their licenses suspended for 18 months or more get back on the road. The amnesty program, which was passed into law by Ohio HB336, is a pilot program being operated by the Ohio Registrar of Motor Vehicles. Eligible motorists can apply for a reduction in reinstatement fees if they have complied with court-ordered sanctions. Individuals who receive food benefits can receive an elimination of all restatement fees if they meet program eligibility requirements. 
  • Nashville Launches Non-Punitive Model for Restoring Driving Privileges
    In Cleveland, driving with a suspended license, or no license at all, usually means a hefty fine, court costs and time in jail. However, Nashville is taking a different approach by issuing citations for individuals with no outstanding warrants or charges, or those not serving probation for a DUI or another driving-related offense. The citation option greatly decreases court costs and other punitive measures which can indebt suspended-license drivers.
  • Changing Ohio’s Civil Asset and Forfeiture Practices
    In the past, property could be seized and forfeited if law enforcement officers suspected it was used for the commission, or attained through, a crime. Oftentimes, small sums of money, or a person’s car or home could be seized without a person being criminally convicted of a crime. This practice resulted in $25.7 million dollars in revenue for law enforcement agencies across the state of Ohio and left many property owners without substantial recourse to prove their innocence and recoup their forfeited investments. Beginning in 2017, changes in forfeiture laws will mean any property valued at $25,000 or less can only be seized if the owner has been criminally convicted, and it can be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the property was used to facilitate a crime. Finally, if real property is at stake, property owners will be granted a pre-seizure hearing if agencies are targeting the property.   
  • Fair Housing Rights for Returning Citizens
    The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) is pleased to announce the publication of An Affordable Home of Reentry. The manual was last published in 2008 and has been fully updated. It is an essential tool for advocates working for people who have criminal records and are seeking access to federally assisted housing. The publication also covers federal statutes and regulations governing admissions and continued occupancy for individuals with a criminal record.
  • Ohio Voting Rights Online Tool 
    A new voting rights resource at provides useful information for individuals with criminal convictions and their ability to vote. The online tool takes the complicated legal framework of each state into an easy to use questionnaire that people with convictions, or agencies serving this population, can use to determine their voting eligibility and the steps they can take to restore their right to vote. Read more of the story of an Alabama voter who thought he was ineligible to vote due to his felony conviction.
  • First Step Act Legislation
    House Bill 5682 requires the Department of Justice to develop and apply a risk and needs assessment system to identify a prisoner’s risk and assign them to appropriate evidence-based programming. Prison residents can earn incentives for participating in the programming. Programs could include vocational training, educational support, substance abuse treatment and other opportunities.
  • Zero Six Eight
    Zero Eight Six is a for-profit business incubator with a unique mission. Zero Six Eight derives its name from the last three digits of ID numbers that identify federal prisoners from the Pittsburgh area. It is also a for-profit business incubator that allows ex-offenders and those willing to hire formerly incarcerated individuals to come together to create employment opportunities for the returning citizen population. 
  • Criminal Record Sealing in Ohio
    In Ohio, criminal records cannot be completely erased or “expunged,” unless they are related to human trafficking. Under Ohio’s Revised Code 2953.31 – 2953.61, when a record is sealed, the electronic and paper records of a person’s criminal charges are filed in a separate, secure location. Certain individuals are eligible to have their records sealed depending upon their conviction. To learn more about eligibility requirements for record sealing or about this process, visit the Ohio Justice and Policy Center.
  • Clean Slate Act: Sealing Nonviolent Marijuana Offenses
    People convicted of federal, nonviolent marijuana offenses or drug possessions would have their records automatically sealed under a U.S. House bill introduced on Tuesday, August 21, 2018. The bill was sponsored by Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-D3) and has been co-sponsored by 20 other legislators including Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).


    • Fatherhood Initiative Conference
      Friday, June 14th
      8am- 4:30pm
      Hilton Garden Inn (Downtown)
      1100 Carnegie Avenue
      Cleveland, Ohio
    • Undesign the Redline - Free, Interactive Exhibit
      Various dates
      Aspen Place
      6016 Lorain Avenue
      Cleveland, Ohio 44102
      More information
    • Jam for Justice
      Wednesday, June 19, 2019
      5 – 10 p.m.
      House of Blues Cleveland
      308 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, 44113
      Tickets are available here.

    • Record Sealing and CQE Training for Individuals with Criminal Backgrounds 
      Various dates: June 21st; August 9th; October 11th; December 13th
      3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
      North Star Neighborhood Reentry Resource Center
      1834 E. 55th Street
      Cleveland, Ohio 44103
      Open to the public. Registration not required but appreciated.
      Register here

    • Cuyahoga50 Free Admission Day
      Sunday, June 23, 2019
      12 – 5 p.m.
      Great Lakes Science Center
      601 Erieside Ave
      Cleveland, 44114
      Event details are here.

    • 10th Anniversary GiveCamp 2019
      Friday, July 19 – Sunday,
      July 21, 2019
      Burke Lakefront Airport
      1501 North Marginal Rd.,
      Cleveland, OH, 44114
      Volunteers can sign-up here. Volunteers will assist nonprofit organizations with tech solutions. 

    • Clean Slate: Removing Barriers to Employment with Record Sealing (Open to the Public)
      Wednesday, August 14, 2019
      Westshore Training Center
      9830 Lorain Avenue
      Cleveland, Ohio 44102
      2 CEU credits available for social workers, counselors and health professionals.
      Register here