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Thursday, November 15, 2007

 

Update on Ohio Senate Bill 197 Which Seeks to Expunge Felony Convictions

You might recall a couple recent posts where I respectfully disagreed with Ohio State Senator Shirley Smith's proposed legislation that would allow some serious felonies convictions to be expunged from individual's records. This was Senator Smith's way of addressing the issue of those with convictions being excluded from jobs and the increase in recidivism rates when employment cannot be found.

That is a serious issue and one that deserves proper consideration. However, as I said before, inhibiting potential employers' ability to make an informed decision is no way to address this problem. If such a measure was adopted, an employer that conducts background checks wouldn't see the expunged conviction.

I was scheduled to meet with Ohio State Senator Lance Mason last week to discuss our concerns about this bill last week and I was looking forward to blogging about some of the ideas I had already discussed with his staffers. Unfortunately, Senator Mason had to cancel the meeting (it was for a very good personal reason). We are going to reschedule, but rather than wait for the meeting, I thought it would be nice to share one of Senator Mason's remedies to this problem as relayed through his staffers.

Senator Mason believes that one such way to remedy the issue of re-entry into the workforce is to introduce tax credits to those that hire former convicts. I happen to believe that this idea has merit and am impressed with his ability to introduce a solution that serves all interests. I don't know how it would be paid for, but in concept it doesn't punish employers by keeping them in the dark about the people it hires and creates a way to get those who wish to enter the workforce after a criminal conviction to do so without having to lie on job applications or be fearful that past transgressions will automatically eliminate them from all employment opportunities.

This effort by Senator Smith is one we commonly see duplicated throughout the country. And in most cases, the intention is to make sure former convicts have a fair chance at assimilating back into their communities and can become productive memebers of society. These are honorable intentions. However, the ideas that Senator Mason has seem to strike a delicate balance of serving all parties involved.

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28 Comments:

  • At December 4, 2007 4:17 PM , Blogger narda said...

    i am a convicted felon, i have served my time and i have done my probation, getting off 3 years early . i did something in my life totally wrong it happened all in a 7 month time span, and because i have 2 cases i'm not eligible for expungement. but if senate bill 197 passes the judge in my case would have the option to say yes or no. i think this would be the right thing to do. we give the judges the trust of making decisions on every other siuation, why not this one. I really need that thing they call a second chance..thanks for listening ....praying for a second chance...narda

     
  • At January 2, 2008 3:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am also a convicted felon who has served time for my wrongdoing.
    I am ineligible for expungement due to having 2 cases. I have been a law abiding citizen for over 15 years now, and I still feel like I am being punished for a crime that happened years ago. (I was young and naive.)If senate bill 197 passes, I will be able to move on with my life and finally get a college degree. I have recently been let go of the college program I was in, due to the felony conviction, and I have been at a stand still since then. Society in general, doesn't realize what it's like to be constantly told that you can never amount to anything. This is because there never seems to be an opportunity for a second chance.

     
  • At January 30, 2008 6:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    does anyone know the status of senate bill 197?

     
  • At February 5, 2008 5:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    We all make mistakes; this country was founded by rejects from the Britain. But that did not stop a great nation to grow. In the Bible it says; we should forgive our fellow man or woman. Why should we be vengeful towards our people who try to live beyond mistakes. We grow from our mistakes learning to endure the pain that took us there. Why can’t things change, the world changes, life changes, situation changes and so do people. I’m not going to talk about what I did in the past. It is about what I am going to do now. Now I am going to fight for my right to be an American. One who can contribute to our country. Not one who is going to take away from it. Let’s not talk about, let’s do something about it. I am tired of being a skillful American, with something to offer. I have kids, I want to be a positive influence in their life too! I helped build this country too, I not going to lie down and be stomp on until I die. Let’s do this along with the Senator! If you have any ideals to move forward and not backwards email me.

    iservedmytime@hotmail.com

     
  • At February 15, 2008 3:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I too am a convicted felon of the first degree, one that does not allow for expungement. This happened over 10 years ago, how long do I have to pay for my crime? Shouldn't "time served" BE "time served"? Even if we had to keep our record for several years past our incarceration, if a person reintegrates with society and is again a "tax payer" they should be able to move on with their lives and get a decent job. Most "decent" job employers and even temp services, won't look once, let alone twice, at an application of a convicted felon. Enough is enough. If we are once again "useful members of society" then let us regain the right and have a chance to continue to prove that people are able to be rehabilitated.

     
  • At February 21, 2008 11:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I found this site to support ex felones. We should support this petition! Sign up! http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-labeling-and-discriminating-against-ex-felons It's states "petition overview | letter
    STOP LABELING AND DISCRIMINATING AGAINST EX FELONS IN EMPLOYMENT!!!Target:STATE OF CALIFORNIA and the U.S. CONGRESSSponsored by: J. CHRISTIEI believe that it should be ILLEGAL to discriminate solely because of the stigma of the label EX FELON. Ex-Felons are people and would just like to reintegrate back into society and live a honest and upright life with the right to employment without having to check the infamous box which says, " Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" As you have read my story @ www.myspace.com/36bluejay you will have faith that not all who are convicted are ANIMALS as portrayed by the justice system; therefore some of us need NOT be categorized and this is why I need the support for a new law for those one to two time offenders who have proven themselves unlike the rest.

    There is no JUSTICE for ex-felons whom may have been convicted of at least one crime and have payed there debt to society and lived a honest and upright life, with sobriety and peace? Why aren't there any AVENUES?

    http://www.constitutioncenter.org/education/ForEducators/Viewpoints/WeThePeopleC ountsForEx-Felons,Too.shtml
    http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060331/NEWS/603310342/1036
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0401/p04s01-usju.html


    I believe that if a person made a mistake within their life and has not only paid the consequences, but learned from the demeanor which put them in the position they were in, they should be restored ALL their civil rights and citizenship WITHOUT and clauses. Let me add this very significant point, I am not in support of those career criminals or revolving doors and I trully feel that one-time offenders SHOULD NOT be categorized with those types of offenders, just as Politicians, Celebrities and Athletes aren't being categorized as felons! You can read more on this in my life blog in the above links.
    "...I feel as though I've been diagnosed with an untreatable contagious disease for which I MUST BE Quarantined..." written by J. Christie

    From: iservedmytime@hotmail.com

     
  • At February 29, 2008 5:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have a felony from over ten years ago, that still bars me from finding decent employment. I stole a walkman radio, got scared and tried to run when I was 19. I was charged with a felony Theft. Three years after probation I went to try and get an expungement. I was denied for a traffic charge of Failure to Stop that happened around the same time. What can I do? I made a few lousy mistakes as a kid. The misdormeanor traffic charge has long since fallen off my traffic record. Who wants to hire a thief? I would'nt. I understand that.
    These background checks tell potential employers one thing about me. But, they don't metion that I have four wonderfull children who rely on me to take care of them. It wont tell them how hard I have worked to better myself. And it does not metion that I honestly want to find a good job.
    Since 911 more and more jobs adds now say "Clean Background Required" or "No Felonies". I dont even bother with those adds.
    I am stuck in one dead end job after another.This aint right.
    Please Help Us. Give this bill a chance. There are a lot of good people that have made a few mistakes in life. Maybe even you.

     
  • At March 17, 2008 11:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm too am a convicted felon. I've served two years in Marysville. After serving my prison term I took it upon myself to turn my life completely around. I went to college and obtain my bachelor Degree in Business Administration. With this degree I was hoping to work with a successful company and make enough money were I could take care of my family but that wasn’t the case. I couldn’t find a job anywhere. I’d work so hard for my degree and it’s completely useless. I have a 2nd degree felony which means I can’t get my felony expunged but if they pass this bill it would benefit myself and a lot of other people . They tell you on your way out of prison to “Go and become a productive member to society” but how can you when no one will give you a chance . This is why recidivism is so high. Most people come out of prison with every intention on doing the right thing but after constantly being turn down job after job some people turn back to a life of crime. It’ also the same way with housing . This bill really needs to passed. So many people need a second chance in life to provide for themselves as well as there families. We as human beings are not perfect we all make mistakes in life. I paid for my action and I am completely remorseful for what happen. I wish I could turn back the hands of time but I can’t. Even tough I was sentence to two years, I feel like it was a life sentence.

     
  • At March 18, 2008 3:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am looking forward to something to help me, I did not do any time in jail, but I have 2 convictions. I would like help and they are over 20 years old. I still get problems with finding a job. The two are convictions of misdeameanors. I am praying something will prevail to help others like me.

     
  • At March 27, 2008 8:54 PM , Blogger ms sensitive said...

    In 2002 i was convicted and sentence to 277 days of incarceration (9 months) for stealing $276.69 from someone. Prior to that time I received my share of parking tickets for which I paid for. After being an upstanding citizen for my entire life. I worked my self to up in a large resturant chain to support myself and my children I found myself in a situation that many now find themselves in today. The repo man was at my door, my lights were in disconnection status, two weeks prior to this my husband said he was going to work and to date I haven't seen him since. As a result I lost my job do to lack of child care. Now, what was I to do (so i thought). I'll go to a temp agency to find work until a premenant solution was found. But how was I to get to work I need my car. In panic I stole a check from a client, called in my car payment. And once I get my pay I'll return the money. It didn't work out that way though. I was told by a Public Defender that my case was probationable all the way through if I made arrangements to pay the money back within 6 months while to my surprise I was lied to. Three months after my arraignment I was sentenced. With the understanding that i would receive probation contingent upon the repayment of $276.69. Needless to say he was oh so wrong. As a result I lost my home, children, career and everything in between. After my release from prison in 2003 I called the same Public Defender to ask about expungement he again lied to me and said that I could began the process in 1 year. Later i found this to be unture as well. It was 3 years, so again I waited. Only to find that my charges were seprerated and I have 2 cases instead of 1. Since all of this information has come to surface I have had the hardest try to supprt my family. I worked at a local corner store in the Buckeye Kinsman area for 2 years were my llife was in danger everyday. I was pysically assaulted, forced into a walkin cooler and locked in, had numerous guns drawn on me all because I had to support my children or the Counties enforcement agency would come in and remove my children. Now what was I to do, I've applied for numerous positions with over 250 companies some of which are said to give Ex-Offenders a second chance that to is a lie. The say that they will give you an opportunity after 7-20 years after your conviction. Meaning after your release or completion of Adult Supervision. Well I have 2 more years to go before I can began to apply for those positions again. But what am i to do in the mean time commit another crime only with more intensity and a greater risk. Just to supprot my family and try to get on with my life. To date i have enrolled in college with the hopes that I will be allowed to complete the program for which I plan to enroll in this coming fall semester. Where is the justice for those who want to live right but are not allowed to. I can't even get into apartment complex and pay my own rent because of the poor decision that I made 6 years ago. I currently pay rent yet the apartment is in someone else's name. How much longer are we to live in someones shadow. My crime was not of a violent nature, so do I deserve the opportunity to prove my self worthy of a second chance or shall I be forever remain incarcerated in Ohio.

     
  • At May 1, 2008 11:03 AM , Blogger Donna said...

    I was wondering if this law is only about people with felonies? My son thought it was about more then one conviction. My son made a couple of mistakes when he was 18. He is now 23 & a full time college student & he works. But he was told that he can't have one removed when you have more then one. He has a petty theft & one with a minor. He thought this girl was 18 & she was only 15. He was young & stupid & he admitted to being with her. But we found out years later that nothing even happend. Well they started, but never finished & we told him he should of never pleaded guilty. But he said the detectives scared him into saying what they wanted. So now that one can never come off. But what about the one with the petty theft. Why can't he have that removed? And does this law only apply to people with felonies? Does anyone have any idea how he can get this off & if there is any way to do something with the conviction with a minor? Thanks. Donna

     
  • At July 21, 2008 10:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    My husband was convicted of a felony when we first started dating 5 years ago. The judge said he was a great canidate for the expungement program in Ohio. So he took 9 months worth of classes, paid for out of his pocket, and waited 5 years for the process to finish. He attended every class, p o appointments, and a a meeting he was ordered complete in order for the felony to be "wiped away". Well, his court date was this past Wednesday. He was denied. You are not able to have a felony expunged if you have EVER had a dui on your record. The judge had already known about this law and had seen his prior record before recommending he go through the expungement process. She got his hopes up, and then shot them down. This was his first felony offense and the dui was in 96, but no matter how long ago it was, it is still there, so nothing can be done. So, just to let you know in Ohio, be careful, just cause the judge tells you it will happen with hard work and determination, 1 dui will have you back where you were. Only short a lot of money and time, but still a felon in the end.

     
  • At August 28, 2008 1:32 PM , Anonymous Greg Mathews said...

    There are many misunderstandings about the purpose and procedure for expungements in Ohio. As an attorney, I stronly believe expungements promote positive benefits for individuals, business, and our society.

     
  • At August 30, 2008 1:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    so what do you do if you get your record expunged and employers still find it thru outside agencies? I feel as if I have wasted the money I paid to the attorneys and courts to expunge it....how am I ever going to get a job if employers can still find it????

     
  • At September 11, 2008 8:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi, Im currently on probation in Ohio. I was convicted of a felony in the fifth degree. I'm currently attending college: my major is human services. I got this felony because a 16 year old took pics of her breast in my phone. I dont have to register or anything. I have been doing everything rite, but i feel I'll never live a normal life or even get in the career im after. Why can't their just be a second chance for those who are trying to better thier way of life? How is it fair to use a misomeaner conviction of a dui against one who has a felony. Also, i can never hunt with my dad again or even protect my home because of ohio's messed up gun laws. Ohio needs to quit worrying about the money they get from the government for inmates to go to prison and start to worry about those who are trying to make good for themselfs and the community.

     
  • At September 28, 2008 12:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    My son was convicted of a second degree felony when he was 19. He was given 3 1/2 years probation. Is this offense expungable? I don't really know a lot about the laws for this in Ohio. He has 2 1/2 years probation to go. Will he have to wait to see if this law goes through? Is going to pay for this for the rest of his life?

     
  • At October 4, 2008 7:49 PM , Anonymous 37Bluejay said...

    Hello everyone, I just wanted to stop by and say that I am pulling for all of us~Keep your heads and stay strong!
    Also I thank anyone who signed my petition (by word of mouth)iservedmytime@hotmail.com I appreciate you looking out in posting my petition @ http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-labeling-and-discriminating-against-ex-felons

    Please support my videos @ www.youtube.com/user/37bluejay

    Thanks Again~God Bless~One Love

     
  • At October 6, 2008 2:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I committed two felonies 10 and 9 years ago. I have had the hardest time finding a job during the last year and my felonies seem to be a major issue. I did time in the county and served probation, yet I am still suffering today. I guess they don't think we can change. I haven't worked in a year, but I haven't sold one drug. How is that for change? I refuse to give up. If anyone can help I can be reached at dangelo.messenger@yahoo.com. My felonies are non-violent and don't involve theft. I was just a stupid kid. Now i have kids and can't take care of them.

     
  • At October 16, 2008 10:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am a first time offender charged with a second - degree felony and upon my arrest the officers were telling me they knew I wasn't the dealer, but if I rolled over on my boyfriend and the father of my child I could walk I didn't and know I sit with several college degree leaving one field for another hoping to find employment that my felony wouldn't interfere with still unemployed it's sad to look at our legislature and the laws they have enacted, but if it were one of their children in the situation I bet something would have been done or a law passed against discrimination for felons oh I forgot if you have money and power things can be swept under the wrong and no one ever knows, but let it happen to Jenny or John in the prodominate areas of our nations and then it's a problem or not fair! We don't truly have any good leaders for our country in the house of congress and haven't for many years when is someone going to trully stand up for the people? I support senate bill 197 whole heartedly and many others should to their children may be in the same shoes some day and they will be wanting relief for them also rich or poor!

     
  • At October 20, 2008 12:20 PM , Blogger Joe said...

    Here is a link to S.B. 197 push push push push your legislators to vote for this intiative.

    This would be the best positive movement we all would need.

    http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=127_SB_197

     
  • At November 19, 2008 3:02 AM , Blogger jerimiah said...

    my name jerimiah morris i am an exfelon the crime i committed was over 13 yrs. ago but i'm still being punised for it like it happen now or yesterday.it's wrong i payed my dept to society for the crime i committed now are society should let me back in to help better my family as well as my self i'm married with 8 children 6 of my own and my wife 2 children=8 i been married going on 11yrs.and staying trouble free but not given a fair opportunity most jobs say the dont discriminate but as we all know they do they are quick to judge a book by its cover instead of opening the the book and reading it i feel like this if i'm good enough to help are society pay taxes are society should open the doors and give us a real second chance. so i'm praying for the sen bill 197 to past in the name of GOD thankyou.

     
  • At November 19, 2008 3:02 AM , Blogger jerimiah said...

    my name jerimiah morris i am an exfelon the crime i committed was over 13 yrs. ago but i'm still being punised for it like it happen now or yesterday.it's wrong i payed my dept to society for the crime i committed now are society should let me back in to help better my family as well as my self i'm married with 8 children 6 of my own and my wife 2 children=8 i been married going on 11yrs.and staying trouble free but not given a fair opportunity most jobs say the dont discriminate but as we all know they do they are quick to judge a book by its cover instead of opening the the book and reading it i feel like this if i'm good enough to help are society pay taxes are society should open the doors and give us a real second chance. so i'm praying for the sen bill 197 to past in the name of GOD thankyou.

     
  • At December 19, 2008 9:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    People in opposition of senate bill 197 have got to be the stupidest! I mean lets look at this thing from a realistic perspective. First off if you aren't willing to give second chances, a person may as well go all in. This is why the crime rate is so high. If individuals can't obtain gainful employment what do you think they are going to do? Watch you ride by in your fuel efficient car on the way to your suburban home? Be real...they going to follow you or your grandmother. Come on people, lets be good christians. Give people a second chance and maybe just maybe we can rebuild some of what is debilitating this country.

     
  • At February 22, 2009 7:13 PM , Blogger shemama said...

    Anyone that doesn't support this doesn't believe in rehabilitation...so why not keep everyone locked up forever and pay for that forever because one won't be able to get a job and will resort to crime or self-medication over their situation. My son's crime...drinking beer under 21, convicted of prohibitions four times. How long must he pay the price for these misdemeanors. He is not the only kid under 21 that has drank, he just happened to get caught. He is now 25, highly intelligent, and still no one will hire him for these things that happened over five years ago. They tell him it is because of the background check. Expungement is not an option because there is more than one conviction. These are all low misdemeanors but will alter his life FOREVER. He has even commented tht his life would be better behind bars at this point because he feels imprisoned to a life of flipping burgers because NO ONE is willing to look beyond his past. Something needs to be done. Maybe after several years of a clean record, minor offenses shouldn't show up on a background check. How many of you have drank before you were supposed to?

     
  • At April 23, 2009 5:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    most people who think about it should be encouraging politicians and others who have influence to help all formerly incarcerated people get jobs, as without such available jobs, society essentially forces these people to go back to crime, personally, I would rather they have the ability to get a job rather than rob me or steal from me.
    Continual retribution will (and has already) come back to bite us.

    Lets stop to cycle of crime, incarceration (college of criminal behavior), release, return to crime!

    In the USA in 2009 we have 5% of the world's population but incarcerate more of our population than china and russia --either we are the evilist people on this Earth (I doubt that) or we are doing something terribly wrong by locking up people massively, taking resources from schools, colleges, and other public services.

    So, we either reintegrate people, help them become working, tax paying, law abiding citizens -- or -- we keep them unable to work, ultimately to return to crime.

    I would prefer the former and support letting someone expunge a records after ten (10) years or no trouble -- do you really think your the same person you were ten (10) years ago?

     
  • At August 19, 2009 4:45 PM , Anonymous joeallen said...

    I am a convicted felon of the 1st degree, for avg drug trafficing. This was 15 years ago. I had one company give me a chance and I was a great employee for 10 years. I have 2 childern now and lost my job in Jan 31st of 09. I have had countless interview with big and small companys in 8 months, even some very rude people telling me I'am trash and how did i even get a job. I may now lose my home and be homeless. I know my wife and childern will go to my in-laws to stay if this happens. I try my hardest every day to apply to companys. It's just getting to much to bear anymore.... thanks joe

     
  • At August 27, 2009 4:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    My daughter has a MISDEAMER Domestic Violence charge on her record. This is her only arrest (not even a traffic ticket) and the person she hit tried to drop the charges but was not allowed. She is now unable to obtain a job of any kind or ever work in a job that is related to people. Does she have any recourse or avenue to get her charge eliminated from her record? She's emotionally hit rock bottom!

     
  • At September 30, 2009 7:54 AM , Anonymous robert said...

    I strongly believe that people deserve a second chance,I'm also a convicted felon.I understand that I need to repay society for what I've done,I paid in full with years of my life that I cant get back.I just got out of prison a few months ago,and I go job hunting 4 days a week,as soon as a potential employer realizes I have felonies the interview is pretty much over.I am very fortunate to have my immediate families help or else I'd be homeless,if I'm homeless it's no ones fault but my own,there are so many people who have made mistakes and are trying to do things the right way,and don't have family to help them.We need to help those who are returning to society so they aren't discriminated against,and yes it is discrimination because no employer wants to give any felon the benefit of the doubt,we are judged instantly.we all need a job to live and eat,felons are people too and deserve a normal life as long as they pay their debt to society and get their lives in order.If we can do well for a set amount of time,then let a judge decide if that person has proved themselves worthy to get their felony expunged,I think this is the best and more efficient way to handle it,senate bill 197 is a good deal,it gives people a second chance to fix their lives.

     

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