COLUMBUS – A Yes vote on Issue 1 will return thousands of Ohioans to the workforce according to a report released today by the independent think tank Policy Matters Ohio. The study notes that one in four jobs in Ohio are unavailable to felons upon release from prison after serving their sentence.
“These roadblocks range from a background check to an outright prohibition against working in a certain job. One in four jobs in Ohio contain these hurdles, known as collateral sanctions for punishing people long after they served their time,” the report by Policy Matters Ohio said.
“Issue 1 opens up more jobs to people by reducing nonviolent drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. When people can earn a living, their chances of committing another crime drops. That makes our communities safer. Ohio has one of the worst drug epidemics in the nation. If Issue 1 doesn’t pass, more people will find themselves locked out of the job market. That’s not good for anyone,” Policy Matters Researcher Michael Shields said.
The report’s findings include:
- Drug possession convictions accounted for 11.7 percent of Ohio prison sentences in 2014, nearly 2,400 Ohioans
524 distinct laws – called collateral sanctions – bar Ohioans from employment in a wide array of jobs based on a drug conviction.
- 56 percent apply only to felonies.
- Jobs that are affected by collateral sanctions pay $4,700 more on average, and are growing at twice the rate of other jobs
- Issue 1 would reclassify low level drug possession felonies as misdemeanors, opening more jobs to Ohioans whose highest conviction is a minor drug charge
“The Policy Matters Ohio report underscores the need for judicial reform that a Yes vote on Issue 1 brings to Ohio. Someone who has served their time should be able to get a job, pay taxes and move back into society. A Yes vote on Issue 1 means a second chance for those suffering from addiction by providing more treatment and safer communities,” said Dennis Willard, spokesperson for the Yes on Issue 1 campaign.
Paid for by Ohio Safe & Healthy Communities Campaign