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  • NYC Votes to Close Rikers. Now Comes the Hard Part.
    After many years, the notorious Rikers Island jail will finally close. The City Council approved a sweeping $8 billion plan to close the troubled jail complex and replace it with four smaller jails by 2026.
  • Man Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Possession to Get Out of Jail. It Turned Out to be Powdered Milk.
    Cody Gregg, a homeless man, was biking through an industrial neighborhood in Oklahoma City when he stopped by police on a probable cause suspicion. When he was arrested, he was charged with felony cocaine possession. After spending two months in prison, he pleaded guilty to felony possession but later entered a not guilty plea when drug testing confirmed the substance was powdered milk. Gregg said he obtained the milk from a local food pantry but only pleaded guilty to get out of jail.
  • People Whose Criminal Convictions Stem from Medical Debt.
    Individuals across the country have developed criminal histories because of unpaid hospital debt. Many hospitals and contractors of radiology and medical services will hire attorneys to collect unpaid debt and when debtors fail to appear for their court date they have a warrant issued for their arrest. Local magistrates can also send people to jail regardless of how sick or mentally ill they are for bills as low as $100.
  • How Prison Can Destroy Your Credit Score and What to do About It
    Prison can damage someone’s credit score during incarceration if they fail to pay monthly bills, particularly student loan debt, a mortgage or a car loan. Even utilities can be reported to a credit bureau if the debt is unresolved. This article introduces some helpful tips of how to rebuild your credit if you’ve been incarcerated.
  • How to Request a Credit Report While You are Incarcerated
    People who are incarcerated can be vulnerable to identity theft or scammers using their personal information to open up new accounts while they are detained. The only real ways to prevent this is by placing an alert on a credit account or by checking a credit report annually. Requesting a credit report from prison requires sending a letter to the Annual Credit Report Request Services. More details are listed in the article.
  • Ohio House Bill Would Allow Involuntary Commitment for Moderate to Severe Substance Abuse
    A proposed Ohio bill would allow courts and law enforcement to involuntarily detain anyone with suspected moderate to severe substance abuse to a hospital. The law would also make it mandatory for private gun sellers to request a certified background check from a potential buyer, which verifies the person is not under a weapons disability or domestic violence order.
  • Ohio Legal Help Launches to the Public
    Ohio Legal Help provides plain language legal information, interactive self-help tools, and connections to local legal and community resources to help Ohioans resolve their legal issues. All content is reviewed by lawyers, to ensure the website is easy to understand and accurate.
  • Second Chances Farm
    The farm, located in Delaware, provides returning citizens with mentorship programs and green collar jobs at hydroponic, indoor, vertical farms in economically distressed communities. Their mission it to reduce their carbon footprint by growing food locally and providing skills to entrepreneurs-in-residence.
  • Athletes are Stepping into the Criminal Justice Arena
    WNBA All-Star and Phoenix Mercury forward Dewanna Bonner visited women at the Estrella Jail – a women’s only facility in Phoenix. The tour – as part of a larger effort to engage athletes in learning more about the U.S. criminal justice system – followed Bonner around the facility and introduced her to several incarcerated women.
  • Back to School: A Common-Sense Strategy to Lower Recidivism
    Postsecondary education is thriving in prisons as corrections officials realize furthering the education of incarcerated persons can reduce their chances of recidivating. The Vera Institute investigates further.
  • Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Incarcerated Mothers
    The United States has the highest maternal death rate in the developed world. This rates increases for black and incarcerated women.
  • 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 
    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 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.
  • 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).
     

    Events 

    • Medicaid Institute - Health Policy Basics
      Monday, November 18, 2019
      10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
      Cuyahoga Community College
      Tri-C Metro Campus
      Cost: $25, lunch included.
      Register Here
    • Cleveland Real Estate Biz Expo
      Saturday, November 23, 2019
      9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
      Corporate College East
      4400 Richmond Road
      Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44128
      Cal (216) 916-9432 for tickets or visit www.realbizexpo.com.
    • South Euclid Rental Housing Education Seminar
      Wednesday, December 4, 2019
      6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
      South Euclid Community Center
      1370 Victory Drive
      Cleveland, OH 44121
      Note: Fair housing laws have changed in both Cuyahoga County and South Euclid. Tenants should attend to know their legal housing rights.
    • Record Sealing and CQE Training for Individuals with Criminal Backgrounds 
      Friday, December 13, 2019
      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
    • Warrensville Heights Community Baby Shower
      Friday, December 20, 2019
      11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
      Warrensville Heights Senior Center
      4567 Green Road
      Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44128
      Light refreshments and gift bags for all moms that register.
      RSVP here
    • Candlelight Vigil – Memorial Service for the Homeless
      Friday, December 20, 2019
      2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
      NEOCH - 3631 Perkins Avenue
      Cleveland, Ohio 44144
      RSVP here