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The Sound of Ideas

Giving Ex-Felons a Second Chance

Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007

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A bad decision at any point in life can lead to an arrest or even a conviction. Of course, a record that includes any felony or even a misdemeanor conviction can make finding employment or a home fairly difficult. State Senator Shirley Smith wants to change that. Her so-called Second Chance Bill is a legislative long shot, but it seems to be opening up the conversation about what to do about the more than 6,000 northeast Ohioans who get out of prison every year. You're invited to join the conversation Tuesday morning at nine.

Tags

Government/Politics, Community/Human Interest, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement

Guests

State Senator Shirley Smith, Democrat, 21st Senate District
Jill Rizika, Executive Director, Towards Employment
State Senator Lance Mason, Democrat, 25th Senate District
Ty Pine, Legislative Director, National Federation of Independent Business

Additional Information

A public hearing on Senator Smith's "Second Chance" legislation will be held Thursday, August 30th, at Cleveland State University's Joseph E. Cole Center (3100 Chester Avenue, Cleveland, OH).

The Urban Institute's Portrait of Prisoner Reentry in Ohio
Senator Shirley Smith's legislation
Senator Lance Mason's legislation
A recent Marketplace story about a business planned in jail and employing ex-cons on the outside.

Leave a Comment

Please follow our community discussion rules when composing your comments.

Myron scott 1:42 PM 8/10/09

I believe that depending on the charges if the person who has not be in trouble and years and is be doing well in his or community should get a chance especially thode who where skills or can be trained. i have a felony which can be expunged and I found a job that hired me and I’ve been there 5years and make decent money , but without a chance their is know happy story.

marshanna long 1:08 AM 10/11/09

I believe this is an opportunity to decrease recidivism in our criminal justice system as I am an ex-felon and college graduate 1977 from the Univ. of S, Florida located in Tampa, Florida. My ignorance began after graduation from college. Although the law states after so many years your record has no bearing but here in Tampa that has proven to be a lie. I earned my education and have so much to offer yet due to my criminal history I am always the one to get fired no matter what contributions and the highest standards I introduced to corps. that made/saved them tons of money and the like. Covert in many cases and overt in some to the point of stating I never divulged my past on applications. I am currently 54 yrs. of age and am still paying for my stupidity of ever getting involved in the CJ system. I never got away with anything and I paid my dues to the fullest. The greatest danger I ever posed was to myself. I have convictions for fighting men to protect myself, but at that time Nicole Simpson had not made headlines with her friend’ Goldman. With as much as I have to contribute with whatever position I could be placed that opportunity has eluded me. There comes a time when you ask when does it end? It is disheartening to look at your peers knowing their lives are not pristeen and the only difference is they were never caught/had the money/connections to get away with things I would never lay down and dream of doing. I am physically disabled due to an auto accident, but my mind is yet intact and because of my past I am still considered a dredge of society. Currently living below the poverty level, however I have not once considered taking, hustling, nor hurting anyone to change my situation. Grants and other government incentives are also denied persons such as myself thereby allowing persons that barely speak English to start and own private businesses. Instead of building more prisons to contain/detain many good people, build a system that will allow some of us to maintain and I can promise this country would see an amazing difference/decline in our felony recidivism statistics because not all of us seek to regress. Thank you for the opportunity to express my feelings and those unable to. This has been a ray of sunshine rather than the dark cloud following and reminding us daily of what we used to be and the stupidity of our past discretions.

John Merritt SR. 10:07 PM 12/13/09

I was released in Nov.,2009 & looking for work.Is there anything you suggest?Is there anywhere you can refer me to?

MARLA ENGLISH 12:47 PM 7/26/10

OVER 18YRS AGO I MADE SOME MISTAKES, I GOT INVOLVED WITH CRACK COCAINE. I DID PRISON TIME, GOT OUT AND RELOCTED TO COLUMBUS. I WAS EMPLOYED AT MT CARMEL EAST HOSPITAL FOR 7YRS. I HAD TO RELOCATE BACK TO LORAIN, OHIO AFTER LOSING MY JOB, BECAUSE OF THE HOUSE BILL 106 NAD SENATE BILL 38 I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET A JOB. I AM BEING PUNISHED FOR THE THINGS I DID LONG AGO AND CAN’T WORK IN MY PROFESSION IN WHICH I AM VERY GOOD.I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A SECOND CHANCE BY HAVING SOMETHING DONE WITH THOSE OPLD FELONIES SO I CAN BECOME GAINFULLY EMPLOYED AGAIN

Marla English 1:10 PM 9/23/10

MY NAME IS MARLA ENGLISH. IHAVE SEVERAL FELONIES THAT 18YRS OR OLDER, ISEEVED TIME IN MARYSVILLE AND GOT OUT. I WAS FORTUNATE BECAUSE I HAD A NURSING DEGREE BEFORE I GOT INVOLVED WITH CRACK COCAINE. IDID EVERYTHING REQUIRED BY THE BOARD OF NURSING AND WAS EMPLOYED AT A MAJOR HOSPITAL IN COLUMBUS.I LOST MY JOB AND RETURNED TO LORAIN, OHIO TO HELP MY SON WITH HIS TERMINALLY ILL WIFE. I HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO OBTAIN EMPLOYMENT IN MY PROFESSION BECAUSE OF SENATE BILL 38 AND HOUSE BILL 160.CAN YOU HELP ME, ILOST MY SHARE OF THE AMERMICAN DREAM BECAUSE OF THOSE 2 BILLS. I FEEL I DESERVE A SECOND CHANCE AND I APPLUAD YOU FOR TRYING TO MAKE CHANCES FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME. PLEASE CONTACT ME TO LET ME KNOW I SHOULD DO.

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