We Don’t Write People Off

Beyond Guilt aims to do for over-punished prisoners who admit guilt what innocence projects have for wrongfully convicted persons who claim actual innocence. Beyond Guilt is one answer to criminal legal system reform efforts that focus narrowly on a more palatable side of the reform movement—freeing innocent prisoners and people convicted of low-level, non-violent offenses at the expense of individuals convicted of more serious offenses, including violent crimes.

OJPC launched Beyond Guilt in March 2019. Right now, Beyond Guilt is a statewide advocacy project — and we will work to ensure that this work extends far beyond the Buckeye State.

READ MORE: Beyond Guilt featured in The New York Times

The mission of Beyond Guilt is to transform our punitive legal system to one focused on justice, redemption, and humanity for those over-punished.

Beyond Guilt will identify unfairly sentenced Ohio prisoners who illustrate widespread problems in our criminal legal system (e.g. imposition of life sentences for felony-murder; life without parole sentences for youthful offenders; broken parole systems that refuse to provide a second chance) and then fight for their release. The project will represent individuals who have served significant portions of their sentences and can demonstrate rehabilitation within the prison walls and who have the skills and support systems on the outside to continue the process of rehabilitation once they are released. Whenever possible, Beyond Guilt will partner with prosecutors, law enforcement officers and crime survivors who can help convince courts to release prisoners through various avenues.



  • The incarcerated individual must submit an application to Beyond Guilt.
  • We do not accept applications from third parties or family members.
  • If you believe your loved one qualifies for Beyond Guilt, but you do not have access to a printer, please email our Beyond Guilt email with your loved one’s name, ODRC #, and institution. OJPC will mail one application to the incarcerated individual.

Submitting an application to Beyond Guilt does NOT mean your loved one’s application has been accepted.

Please note, Beyond Guilt currently has a significant waitlist of cases awaiting review to determine whether we can take an individual’s case. Therefore, Beyond Guilt cannot provide immediate legal assistance.  If an individual needs immediate legal assistance, please contact your local public defender office or your local bar association.

Other resources for assistance with Judicial Release, Parole Board, Postconviction Relief can be found at:

Other Pro Se Resources | Ohio Public Defender Commission

Parole Toolkit_FINAL_March 2022.pdf (ohio.gov)

Want Beyond Guilt to look at your loved one’s case?