Criminal Justice Reform

Across the country inequities in our justice system further disadvantage low-wage workers, particularly people of color.  Even for the most minor infractions, fees, fines and unpaid bail can result in long jail stays without judicial recourse, exacerbated by the loss of income and employment.  Reentry into the job market after a jail or prison term is challenging under the best circumstances.  EARN partners document how criminal justice dysfunction undermines the prospects of thousands and suggest policies that can open pathway improvements in the economic prospects—and therefore the long-term economic stability—of formerly incarcerated people and their families.

Publications

Breaking barriers: Issue 1 could put Ohioans back to work

The consequences of a criminal conviction extend far beyond the sentence imposed in court. Ohio’s legislature and its administrative bodies have constructed an array of legal restrictions, called collateral sanctions, that can limit access to housing, licensing and jobs. Policy Matters Ohio has found that collateral sanctions limit or bar access to one in four Ohio jobs and contribute to $3.4 billion in foregone wages each year. For Ohioans whose highest conviction is for a drug possession charge, relief could come on November’s ballot, in the form of Issue 1.

Literature review: Incarceration hurts communities

In Ohio, many people are in prison either for violating probation in ways that are not themselves a crime, or for possessing or using drugs. Keeping them in prison is expensive and drains resources for other needs like education, health care or job training. It is also extremely costly to Ohio families, Ohio communities, and the Ohio economy.