Expungement, record sealing and reducing the impact of collateral consequences

Collateral consequences are the “second sentence” a person faces after serving a criminal sentence. When someone is convicted of a crime, it becomes harder for that person to access employment, housing and education. The vast majority of these restrictions affect employment. The result is an estimated 1.3 million Ohio jobs are either completely or partially off limits to Ohioans with previous criminal convictions, according to OJPC’s Wasted Assets report.

Once a person has paid his or her debt to society, they should not be subject to unnecessary, blanket restrictions from adequate jobs and housing, financial aid or the ability to go to college.

OJPC is working to fight the long-lasting effects of collateral consequences in a few ways:

Remove the restrictions from Ohio law

In OJPC’s work with the Ohio Legislature, we support bills that consider and remedy the heavy impact of collateral consequences.

Right now, the Ohio Legislature is considering HB 263 , which would make professional licenses more attainable for people with criminal records.

Help clients understand their options to seal or expunge a record

While we work to correct the restrictions already written into Ohio law, OJPC also assists individual clients facing the impact of collateral consequences through our direct legal services. Our Second Chance team is experienced in helping clients pursue all avenues to mitigate the barriers set by criminal records.

If you have questions about sealing or expunging a criminal record, obtaining a CQE or the impact of your criminal record, contact our Second Chance team at secondchance@ohiojpc.org. You can also attend one of our upcoming free legal clinics.

OJPC also supports legislative bills that expand eligibility for record sealing and expungement. Right now, the Ohio Legislature is considering HB1 and SB3, both of which contain some expansion of record sealing and expungement.

The CIVICC database

The Civil Impacts of Criminal Convictions under Ohio Law (CIVICC) database is the only database of its kind in the state. Users can search through Ohio’s 850+ collateral consequences by offense or by field of employment, type of license or a privilege granted to Ohio citizens that may be blocked or restricted to someone with a criminal record.

You can use the database for yourself here.

Studying the impact of collateral sanctions

OJPC was proud to work with Policy Matters Ohio on the 2018 report titled “Wasted Assets: The cost of excluding Ohioans with a record from work” to analyze the financial impact collateral consequences have on Ohio’s economy.

The report found that 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 those Ohioans face contributed to $3.34 billion in foregone wages last year.

Read more about the report here.