Highlights from our work
December 18, 2015—As 2015 closes and we head into 2016, here are top ten highlights from OJPC’s work. These events and accomplishments reflect OJPC’s collaborative, insightful, and client-centered approach. It’s been an honor to serve such powerful work in 2015, and we are so grateful for the people, partnership, and support that made it possible.
People’s First Assembly
On January 22, 2015, hundreds of advocates from across the state gathered in Columbus at the People’s First Assembly: Our Lives Matter. OJPC’s Yaacov Delaney helped lead the day of lobbying, where the number one demand to the Ohio General Assembly was to pass the Fair Hiring Act.
OJPC Supports Re-entry for Survivors of Human Trafficking
With the support of the Ohio State Bar Foundation, OJPC dove into its representation and advocacy on behalf of survivors of human trafficking, whose criminal records were holding them back from starting a new life. Caroline, whose name was changed for protective purposes, was featured in this Cincinnati CityBeat article in March. Caroline, in the end, was granted an expungement and shortly thereafter earned employment in her desired field of work.
David Singleton’s Testimony to the U.S. Senate & Pedaling Justice
In May, David Singleton testified to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. At the same time David was in Washington, D.C., OJPC founder, Al Gerhardstein, and his rising attorney daughter, Jessica Gingold, were on a 3,000 mile bike ride from Cincinnati to Ferguson to New Orleans to raise awareness about policing and criminal justice reform.
Fair Hiring in Ohio leapt forward in 2015, from a series of local and county initiatives, to state law. In June, Governor Kasich ordered the state of Ohio to voluntarily adopt the recommendations for state hiring put forth by OJPC, OOC, and highlighted at the People’s First Assembly. Later, both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly, the House in September and the Senate in December, passed the Ohio Fair Hiring Act. That bill now awaits the Governor’s signature.
As OJPC Board Member Dan Meyer wrote, “Fair Hiring is good for people, business, and the community.” Read more about the history of OJPC’s advocacy on this topic here.
Piper Kerman Event
Author of Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman, joined OJPC in September to discuss her life, her book, and criminal justice reform. David Singleton wrote this insightful editorial on women in the criminal justice system.
The Ohio Transformation Fund
A new force for criminal justice reform in Ohio launched this year. This innovative fund is a collaboration of national and local funders that is supporting integrated community organizing, policy advocacy, and electoral engagement — all to achieve the goal of reducing the size and racial disparity of the adult and youth incarcerated populations in Ohio. You can learn more about the Ohio Transformation Fund in this WVXU interview.
Reforming the Death Penalty for the Seriously Mentally Ill
In October, OJPC issued its report, and David Singleton testified before the Ohio Senate in favor of adequately protecting people with serious mental illness from the death penalty. The bill is currently in the Ohio Senate, and our partners at the Ohio Alliance for the Mental Illness Exemption are driving the advocacy effort.
Training Future Leaders
OJPC believes we make change partly through the future leaders we train. As the reflections from our summer interns show, our work with these students, as we help people pursue more fair, intelligent, redemptive justice, is always a highlight of the year.
Policing and Health Impacts: Stress on the Streets
OJPC partnered with Human Impact Partners and the OOC to issue research on the health impacts of policing and recommendations to increase trust not trauma. The report, Stress on the Streets (SOS): Race, Policing, Health and Increasing Trust Not Trauma, can be found on our website or at www.trustnottrauma.org.
OJPC launched this very new website in 2015. We hope the site more easily shares information and resources. We also hope it creates a better place for conversation around fair, intelligent, redemptive criminal justice. To share your feedback or if you have ideas to become a contributor (blogging, photography support, video support, etc.), please email me at Erik Crew.