The ACLU of Ohio is committed to advancing community reentry by working to eliminate barriers – legal or otherwise – that serve no purpose toward public good.

One-in-six Ohioans have a criminal record. After completing their sentence, these individuals face tremendous difficulty finding employment, housing and other vital resources needed to live a productive and stable life.

In some cases, the barriers are legally imposed by a court of law or government agency. These legal barriers are known as collateral sanctions. But often times, additional barriers result from screening mechanisms, such as background checks, that disqualify people from housing, jobs, and other services. Whether imposed by law or by institutional practice these barriers increase recidivism rates and create systems of poverty and incarceration that weaken our communities and harm public safety.

What are Collateral Sanctions?

mytubethumb play
Privacy statement. This embed will serve content from

Collateral sanctions are penalties that go beyond a sentence or conviction. They go beyond prison time, probation or parole, court fines, fees, and restitution, and other community control sanctions that result from the actual criminal sentencing. In essence, they are penalties people face after already being penalized.

Ohio has more than 850 collateral sanctions ranging from driver's license suspension to bars to certain employment and professional licensure. These sanctions create lasting and damaging limitations on convicted persons and many bear no rational relationship to the offense. Instead some may even be counter-productive such as the suspension of a driver’s license for failure to pay child support. Importantly, the far-reaching effects of these barriers impact not only the individual with the conviction, but also their families, communities, and society at-large.

To learn more about specific collateral sanctions in Ohio, visit the Ohio Justice and Policy Center's online database about the Civil Impact of Criminal Convictions.

The Need For Reform

A Way Forward

A list of resources and citations for this research can be found here.

DISCLAIMER – The information on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Every case depends on the specific facts and circumstances involved. To submit a complaint for review, please go to our Legal Help page.