New Law in Ohio Will Make It Easier for People Who Have Been in Jail to Find Housing

New Law in Ohio Will Make It Easier for People Who Have Been in Jail to Find Housing

TOLEDO, Ohio —

A new law in Ohio makes it easier for people who have been accused of a crime to find a place to live when they get out of jail.

House Bill 50 lets prisoners who are about to be released or who have just been released ask the courts for proof of qualification for housing. This will make it easier for former prisoners to find good housing.

In 2009, Willie Knighten Jr. got out of jail after being wrongfully convicted of murder. He said that the new law will help people who have just been released in many ways.

He said one of the hardest things to do after getting out of jail is finding a place to live.

“Let’s say I’m found guilty of setting fires. Do you want to rent from me?” Knighten told him. “Let’s say I was found guilty of drug dealing. Could I get a house near a school?”

Ohio State Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) helped to write the bill and said it will “make it possible for those who qualify to get into decent housing.”

People who have been convicted of a crime can qualify if they can show the courts that they are serious about changing their lives by showing proof that they went through rehabilitation programs before they were freed.

“The Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections will have something to look at,” she said. “The court, no different from when they do an expungement or sealing a record, will look and see what that person’s life is like and make a decision accordingly to that.”

Knighten says that chances like the ones HB 50 provides will also lower the number of people who commit crimes again.

“If a person has somewhere to lay their head, if a person has somewhere to stay, they’re less likely to commit crimes because most people are committing crimes to survive,” he added.

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