Job placement and advancement are limited by available jobs and required skills, but also by real and imposed barriers. One such obstacle is a criminal background.
State laws and administrative rules called collateral sanctions block or restrict those with a felony conviction from accessing certain kinds of jobs, essentially serving as a de facto life sentence. Indeed, many collateral sanctions help protect public safety. But many others are broad and allow for unguided discretion in enforcement. Just how big of an obstacle and an impediment on the economy these sanctions are has been relatively unknown. Until now.
In May 2018, the Fund awarded a grant to study the issue as part of its emphasis on addressing systemic barriers to employment as outlined in The Two Tomorrows. With the Fund’s support, Policy Matters and
the Ohio Justice & Policy Center undertook this research to better understand the impact of collateral sanctions on individuals and the economy at large. The goal in producing this research was to facilitate
rational, systemic reform that might expand the candidate pool for businesses struggling to find workers while increasing access to job opportunities for Northeast Ohio residents.
- Some 850 laws and administrative rules limit job opportunities for Ohioans with convictions who have already served their time.
- Around 1 in 4 Ohio jobs (1.3 million) is blocked or restricted for those with a conviction.
- Jobs affected by collateral sanctions pay $4,700 more on average and are growing at twice the rate of other jobs.
- The typical Ohioan out of work after serving time for a felony conviction lost $36,479 in wages in 2017. Total lost wages reached an estimated $3.4 billion across the state.
- Collateral sanctions prevent Ohioans with convictions from pursuing higher education.
Download a copy of the report here and learn more about the specific occupations and industries that are most affected.