Ohio Senate Bill 337, which is designed to lower barriers to employment for ex-cons, was recently passed by both chambers of the Ohio legislature and sent to Governor John Kasich’s desk to be signed into law. The Marion Star reports:

There are more than 49,000 inmates in Ohio prisons. Ohio Senate Bill 337, if passed, would change the way ex-cons are able to gain employment once released from prison. . . . [I]t also would give employers who hire ex-offenders protection from being held liable for negligent hiring.

The bill is designed to keep “collateral sanctions” – a penalty, disability or disadvantage that is related to employment or occupational licensing as a result of a guilty plea or conviction – from fully preventing employment.

Those convicted of crimes such as theft are still not going to be allowed to work as a bank teller, but ex-offenders would be allowed to take exams required to get state licenses for jobs in the construction industry.

According to Ohio Department of Corrections Director Gary Mohr, who supports the bill, these new measures should have a positive effect on public safety.

“If someone is allowed to get a job, have an income, gain the respect of his family and those around him, then that person is far less likely to commit another offense,” Mohr said. “Our goal is to get these people gainfully employed.”

While SB 337 represents important movement in the right direction, ex-cons still face barriers to employment. The discretion to hire, or not to hire, still ultimately remains with the employer.

The full article can be found here.