En Espanol Search

find resources  

Eliminating Barriers For Formerly Incarcerated Members Of Our Community

After learning about barriers faced by our formerly incarcerated brothers and sisters, we entered into dialogue which led to action. As in many other states, formerly incarcerated persons in Ohio have long experienced discrimination when applying for jobs. When our parish learned about the barriers to employment and societal re-entry that face many of our formerly incarcerated brothers and sisters, we decided to get involved. We worked with the Vincentian Reentry Organizing Project, an effort funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and the Archdiocesan Dismas Journey Task Force, to arrange a dialogue between parish members and formerly incarcerated members of our community. As we learned more about the difficulties they face, and inspired by Christ’s vision of mercy and forgiveness in the U.S. bishops' statement, Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration, we focused our attention on “banning the box” in the state of Ohio. The “box” refers to a question on job applications about prior convictions—a question which makes it almost impossible for formerly incarcerated individuals to find work. Having learned so much from our own community dialogue, we arranged a luncheon where formerly incarcerated community members shared with elected officials about their experiences. We are pleased to report that as a result of our work and that of others, Ohio has now become the 17th state to ban the box for state-level jobs! We’re hoping to have it expanded to all local governments by the end of the year.