According to Legal Aid of Western Ohio, two million people in the state have a criminal record. However, a new law could help some seeking redemption, achieve new goals.
Governor John Kasich signed the Collateral Sanctions Bill into law late last month. The bill is often referred to as the Redemption Bill because it helps people with a criminal record get their driver license back, apply for professional licenses, or even wipe their records clean.
The driving privileges apply mostly to people who failed to pay child support. Another part of the bill allows some people with criminal records become licensed in fields such as cosmetology, construction, and optometry. A third part will help people with either two misdemeanor convictions or one felony and one misdemeanor conviction.
"They may have been caught with marijuana for example and maybe they had a petty theft offense. They couldn't expunge their record even if 15, 20, 30 years had gone by, and it really affects your ability to get employment. So, this new law will help people like that," said John Keenehan, attorney for Legal Aid of Western Ohio.
Having a record expunged is the same as getting it sealed. So when applying for a job, apartment, or license, the crimes will no longer appear during a background check.
To help more people obtain the benefits, Legal Aid is developing a record expungement clinic. The law officially goes into effect in September.