Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he wants to ease restrictions that block felons being released from the state’s prisons from getting jobs, saying the rules hinder convicts’ rehabilitation chances, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer
“This is a case where people who are convicted of felonies are basically denied an opportunity to do some really simple things that would allow them to be reintegrated into our society,” Kasich said to a group of lawmakers, prosecutors, and judges.
“If you are convicted of a felony, and that could be a non-violent felony, you can’t get a commercial driver’s license. So we have 5,000 truck driving jobs in the state of Ohio, and you can’t drive a truck,” he said.
Kasich acknowledged the issue won’t be popular with his fellow Republicans, who over the years have passed a series of tough-on-crime laws. Kasich said the legislation “gets put up at a time when there is a political firestorm going on and the next thing you know there are some things done that shouldn’t have been done," Kasich said.
Hundreds of Ohio judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and parole officers agree it is time for the criminal justice system to address the rules, according to a recent report.
“We’re looking for some kind of common ground to move forward with sanctions, to remove some of them," said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
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