Our Three Main Efforts
OJPC focuses its efforts toward our mission through strategies designed to effectively leverage limited resources against monumental challenges.
Substantially and safely reduce the size and racial disparity of the prison population
We work to substantially and safely reduce the size and racial disparity of the prison population through our Decarceration Advocacy initiative. A resounding chorus of leading criminologists in the country are not only decrying America’s addiction to incarceration, but they are showing evidence based models for locking up fewer people in a less racialized way—all while improving community safety and health, and spending less money than the current punishment-driven system. The political environment has become ripe for OJPC to demand more from systems that are supposed to be reducing crime and healing its effects.
Expand the freedom of people with criminal records to participate fully in the community.
We fight to expand the freedom of people with criminal records to participate fully in the community through our Second Chance Community Legal Clinics. Begun in 2004, these clinics provide the best quality, most accessible legal advocacy, advice, and education to individuals with criminal records throughout Cincinnati—removing legal barriers to employment, housing, education and civic participation. Each year, over 500 people with criminal records speak one-on-one with an OJPC attorney or paralegal at our monthly clinics at the Urban League, the Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati State, and now Cincinnati Works. At the Second Chance Clinics, people are assisted with criminal-record sealing, expungement, and Certificates of Qualification for Employment (CQEs).
Protect human rights and dignity of incarcerated people.
Since our founding in 1997 as the Prison Reform Advocacy Center, OJPC has fought in federal court to protect the basic human rights and dignity of incarcerated people in Ohio. We specialize in cases involving access to adequate health care for serious medical needs, the right to practice religion, excessive force, and prisons failing to provide adequate protection from violence. Our cases aim to bring systemic impact on issues that uphold the basic human dignity for the incarcerated and contribute to prisons better fulfilling their mission of rehabilitation. Through our Constitutional Litigation Clinic, run by our Executive Director David Singleton, also an Assistant Professor of Law at Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law, law students gain hands-on experience litigating cases, assist us to best serve our clients, and are trained as future leaders for justice reform.