Ohio Justice & Policy Center

Ohio Lame Duck session: How you can help right now

Take action on priority criminal-legal reform legislation The 2020 lame duck legislative session is underway in Ohio, and legislators need to hear from you! Phone calls, emails, even tweets are effective and essential ways to advocate for change — and it’s so easy to do! Several high-priority bills are on the verge of becoming law […]

Where Are They Now? Former OJPC intern Ben Ranz

I spent the summer of 2019 as an OJPC intern after my first year of law school. OJPC had been on my radar even before law school began. I was drawn to their commitment to not only address one-on-one client issues, but also to make large-scale systemic policy changes to prevent future client issues from […]

Record Sealing in Ohio: FAQs

What does it mean to seal a record? How is that different from expungement? Sealing a record means that it should no longer be available through publicly available records or background checks, though it may still be available to some employers, such as many schools or health-care providers, through government-issued BCI/FBI background checks. Expungement, on […]

Legislative Update: SB3 passes the Senate, HB1 should be next

On June 30, the Senate passed SB3 by a 25-4 vote. This is a bill that primarily focuses on drug resentencing, but it also expands record sealing in ways that will help many OJPC clients who face barriers to employment, housing, and education due to their criminal records. The bill is one of two major […]

Protests and the Pandemic: Recommendations for a more equitable Cincinnati

On June 4, after more than a week of protests across the United States and almost three months into a global pandemic, The Ohio Justice & Policy Center and the Cincinnati Black United Front released a list of eight recommendations. These are concrete ways for law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and local governments to respond to […]

How OJPC is trying to free at-risk prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic

By: Lily Meyer The lawyers and staff of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center were concerned about Ohio prisoners’ health long before the coronavirus pandemic began. OJPC’s flagship Human Rights in Prison program advocates for adequate access to health care for all incarcerated Ohioans. Before this March, fighting for prisoners’ medical rights meant advocating and […]

Welcome Home, Alexis

When Alexis Ke’Erica Martin walked out of prison, she was overjoyed – and so were many others. Her step into the prison parking lot marked a major step toward true freedom, after a life of human trafficking and incarceration. Alexis was ready for the next chapter of her life. “Ke” (short for Ke’Erica), as she […]

Second Chance Month: People need the opportunity to do better

I used to interview people, mostly teenagers, to work in food service at a local amusement park over the summer. I had to ask everyone about their criminal history and let them know that a disclosure would not prevent them from becoming employed. Only one person ever disclosed their criminal history to me. He was […]

Mark Vander Laan’s second act: Litigation on behalf of Ohio’s prisoners

Written by OJPC Volunteer Lily Meyer The attorney Mark Vander Laan, who serves as the Ohio Justice & Policy Center’s Litigation Director, is not the firebrand I expected to meet. His demeanor is calm and thoughtful; he is a considered talker, given to weighing and contextualizing each idea as he shapes it. Listening to him describe […]

How we can minimize harm and save lives during a pandemic

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center’s recommendations to minimize the scale and spread of the new coronavirus in our criminal legal system Ohio’s leaders took swift action to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Large gatherings are prohibited, bars and restaurants are closed, and many of us are working from home (including the OJPC […]