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  • 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 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. 
  • Exemptions on SNAP Work Requirements Impacts Urban Areas Most
    An analysis of food stamp use in Ohio, found counties exempted from work rules had overwhelmingly white populations. Meanwhile, urban areas, where black poverty is higher, had the most stringent work requirements. Additionally, with exemptions being implemented at the county level it creates racial disparities in who is exempted from work rules or who is required to work more hours for the same level of benefits. 
  • 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. 
  • Group Registers Eligible Voters in Lake County Jail
    All-Voting is Local and other local volunteers registered eligible voters in Lake County jail on October 9, 2018. Voters who are not currently incarcerated for a felony, including felony probation or parole violations, can vote in Ohio. Detained individuals often face challenges with voting because they cannot access the absentee ballot application required to have their ballot sent to the jail if they will be detained on Election Day or the voter registration form if they are not registered voters. 
  • Keeping Parental Bonds Strong for Young, Incarcerated Parents in Colorado
    State officials for Colorado’s Division of Youth Services have explored ways to strengthen parent bonds between incarcerated juveniles and their children. This includes offering parenting classes, creating a warmer visiting room at juvenile detention centers and adding kiosks to help parents and their families sign up for public benefits, if they are eligible.
  • 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 many property owners without financial means or 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. Read more...
  • Exonerees Inspire Newest Class of Law Students
    University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Innocence Project, based in their College of Law, was created by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, attorney William Gallagher and UC law professor Jack Chin, to free every person in Ohio who has been convicted of a crime they did not commit. The legal clinic was founded in 2003, and has worked to exonerate 27 wrongfully convicted citizens who served a total of 450 years behind bars. UC law professor, Mark Godsey, is the current legal director and a former prosecutor and author of “Blind Injustice.” The article shares stories of individuals they helped to exonerate and free from prison. Read more… 
  • Facebook Founders Among Backers of Ohio Criminal Justice Reform Amendment
    The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s advocacy arm contributed $1 million to support Ohio Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar prison sentences for individuals convicted of drug possession and non-violent crimes. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Ms. Chan, are just one of several out-of-state philanthropists pushing the Ohio measure. The measure would also reclassify drug possession offenses as misdemeanor crimes, except for drug possession or trafficking currently classified as first-, second- or third-degree felonies. It would also prohibit jail sentences for drug possession until an individual’s third offense within 24 months. The issue will be on November’s ballot. Read more…
  • 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 www.RestoreYourVote.org 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 those serving them) can use to determine if they are eligible to vote or how to restore their 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. Read more…
  • Mass Incarceration and the Challenge of Reentry
    Bruce Western, sociologist and co-director of Columbia University’s Justice Lab and the author of Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison, shares his findings from research into the first year after incarceration and argues for more support for reentry. Read more… 
  • Rikers Island Commission Unveils Plan to Shut Down Jail Complex
    In 2017, an independent commission studying Rikers Island released its recommendations for closing the jail complex. The Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York also supported the commission’s recommendations. Read more…
  • The View from Inside: Ohio’s Prison Chief on Re-entry and Criminal Justice Reform
    Ohio Director Gary C. Mohr of the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections delivered a presentation at the City Club of Cleveland, a non-partisan forum that was incorporated in 1912, on August 17, 2018. Director Mohr discussed the state of corrections and criminal justice in Ohio. See more…
  • Accelerating Prison Reform and Prison Alternatives
    With his eight-year term as Ohio’s prison chief nearing an end, Gary Mohr said the state needs to find more alternatives to prison for non-violent drug offenders and the mentally ill. Read more…
  • Criminal Record Sealing in Ohio
    In Ohio, criminal records cannot be completely erased or “expunged,” unless they are related to human trafficking. Under Ohio Revised Code 2953.31 – 2953.61, when a record is sealed, the electronic and paper records of your 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. 
  • How Financial Literacy Can Assist Offender Rehabilitation
    Many returning citizens carry significant debt when exiting prison, including fines, court costs, traffic tickets, license reinstatement fees, past due child support and victim restitution. These debts are often coupled with poor knowledge of financial education and can lead to pitfalls with payday loans, poor savings and debt crises. Tyson Howard discusses how financial literacy can benefit currently incarcerated individuals and ready them for their release. Read more… 
  • Virginia Jail Using Yoga to Give Inmates ‘Life Balance’ and Reduce Recidivism
    A new program, called “Balancing Your Life,” aims to improve impulse control and decision making and, ultimately, reduce how participants reoffend after release. Balancing happens through yoga and breathing classes offered inside the prison walls. Read more… 
  • 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). Read more…

 

Events 

  • Community Agency Networking Meeting
    Wednesday, November 14, 2018
    11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Fatima Family Center
    6600 Lexington Avenue
    Cleveland, Ohio 44103
    RSVP at https://buckeye-cuyahogacountyagencymeeting18q4.eventbrite.com
  • CEOGC Community Resource Fair
    Thursday, November 15, 2018
    10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Neighborhood Leadership Institute
    5246 Broadway Avenue
    Cleveland, Ohio 44127
  • 2018 Destination HBCU College Fair (Vendors & Workshops)
    Thursday, November 15, 2018 - Saturday, November 17, 2018
    3:00 p.m.
    Cleveland Metropolitan School District East Professional Center
    1349 E. 79th Street
    Cleveland, Ohio 44103 and 
    Warrensville Heights High School
    4270 Northfield Road
    Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44128
    Presented by the HBCU Alumni of Cleveland
    Visit www.DestinationHBCU.org or call 216-282-HBCU for more information.
  • Greater Cleveland Faith-Based Community Baby Shower
    Saturday, November 17, 2018
    12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Second Ebenezer Baptist Church
    1881 East 71st Street
    Cleveland, Ohio 44103
    For more information: Bregina Knuckles, Community Liaison, 216.217.2294 or knuckesb@neonhealth.org
  • Returned Citizens - Personal Reflections at the Prison Nation Exhibit
    Thursday, December 6, 2018
    6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    Martin Luther King, Jr., Library
    1962 Stokes Blvd.
    Cleveland, Ohio
    More Information