BlogNews

Ohio’s “Wasted Assets” — a new report on unemployment and underemployment due to criminal convictions

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center is honored to work with Policy Matters Ohio and The Fund for Our Economic Future analyzing how collateral sanctions to criminal convictions are affecting Ohio’s workforce.

The report finds that an estimated 1.3 million Ohio jobs are either completely or partially off limits to Ohioans with previous criminal convictions. That is one in four of the state’s jobs.

An estimated one in 11 Ohio adults is living with a felony conviction. As many as one in three has a criminal record of some kind. The barriers to work they face contributed to $3.34 billion in foregone wages last year.

Some 850 state laws and administrative rules – known as collateral sanctions — limit job opportunities for Ohioans with convictions who already served their time, including for most government jobs, jobs in healthcare and even some janitorial or food service jobs, according to the report. In addition, the 1.3 million restricted jobs pay $4,700 more on average than unaffected positions and are growing at twice the rate of other jobs.

OJPC Staff Attorney Pam Thurston co-authored the report. Pam is also the administrator of the CIVICC database, which tracks collateral sanctions and catalogues them in on a searchable site.

Recommendations in the report include:

* The state legislature eliminate excessive, arbitrary and confusing collateral sanctions against licensing and hiring.

* The Certificate of Qualification for Employment process be made both better understood and more widely available.

* Prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys account for collateral sanctions in reaching plea deals, and defense attorneys fully advise clients.

* Hiring managers use Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines to weigh all relevant factors when a prospective employee has a criminal conviction.

* The legislature ban the box for all Ohio jobs while allowing managers to consider convictions later in the process.

* Licensing boards track the number and cause of criminal records-based denials.

See the full report, use this link