May 26, 2018
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For Immediate Release


Contact:  Tracie Hunter (513) 607-2992




Will Demand Change in City Hiring Rules During April 9, 2009 At Promise Summit


On April 9, 2009, at 2:00 p.m., the Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC) will publicly call for City of Cincinnati to end its blanket policy of denying employment to otherwise qualified applicants with felony convictions.  OJPC will issue its call during the At Promise Summit, a conference co-sponsored by OJPC and Cincinnati State’s Black Male Initiative. 


“The time has come for the City to open its workplace doors to qualified applicants who would otherwise be hired but for their felony convictions,” said David Singleton, OJPC’s Executive Director. “If we really care about community safety, then we must do all we can to ensure that when ex-felons come home from prison they have a chance to succeed and become productive,” said Singleton.  “We can’t expect the private sector to hire former offenders if the City is not willing to show leadership on this issue,” added Singleton.  


OJPC currently represents 44 year-old Gene Mays, who was denied employment as an electrician with the City because of two felony drug convictions.  Mr. Mays was a star in high school – both in the classroom and all the basketball court.  Ranked number one in his high school class, Mays was kicked off the basketball team during his senior year for being caught using marijuana.  His life then spiraled out of control.  After graduating from high school, Mays also graduated to harder drug use.  Addicted to cocaine, Mays then began selling drugs to support his habit, earning him a stint in the Ohio prison system.  But after hitting rock bottom in October 1997, Mays turned his life around with help from Narcotics Anonymous.  Since then, Mays has been drug and alcohol free.  In 2001, after four years of sobriety, Mays enrolled in a five-year electrician training program.  He earned glowing recommendations from his supervisors and graduated number one in his class.  In 2006 Mays took and passed the City of Cincinnati’s Civil Service exam but was later denied a position with the Metropolitan Sewer District based solely on his felony record.  OJPC is handling Mays’ appeal of the Commission’s decision.


“Mr. Mays is very well qualified and should be working for the City of Cincinnati, and we will do everything we can to make sure that happens,” said Singleton. 


There are at least 14 cities and counties across the country that have implemented policies that explicitly expand job opportunities for people with criminal records.  These jurisdictions include Midwest cities such as Battle Creek, Michigan; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; and Chicago, Illinois.


OJPC is a non-profit law office that works for productive reform of Ohio’s criminal justice system.  Through collaboration, research, community education, and litigation, OJPC advocates for smart-on-crime, evidence-based approaches to improving the criminal justice system.

The At Promise Summit will take place at Cincinnati State and will begin at 10 a.m.

For more information, contact David Singleton, 513-421-1108/513-543-7254 




 Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline


April 9th, 2009

9-10 Registration

10-10:05 Welcome/ Introduction 

Gary Boyle: Black Male Initiative Co-chair, Cincinnati State Community and Technical College

10:05-10:15 Opening Remarks

David Pepper: Hamilton County Commissioner

10:15-10:45 Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Drivers

Angie JacksonRace and Justice Project DirectorOhio Justice & Policy Center 

10:50-11:00 Break

11:00-11:45 Indigent Defense Reform: Crisis & Opportunity

Janet Moore: Senior Staff Attorney, Ohio Justice & Policy Center

11:45-12:45 LUNCH

1:00-1:55 Panel Discussion on DMC


Judge Fanon Rucker: Hamilton County Municipal Court 

Gertrude Dixon: Senior Assistant Prosecutor, Cincinnati City Prosecutor

Scotty Johnson:


2:00-2:45    Panel Discussion on Reentry: Ex offender employment & City Hiring

David Singleton: Executive Director, Ohio Justice & Policy Center

Stephen Tucker: Director of Adult Services, Urban League of Greater Cincinnati

Donna Szabo: Counselor, Great Oaks 


2:45-3:15 Brainstorm/closing/call to action



Contact:  Tracie Hunter (513) 607-2992




A 2008 report conducted by the Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC) found that more than 90% of Hamilton County's jail population is male, 70% are black, over 50% lack a high school diploma and nearly half are unemployed. Over 59% of Cincinnati’s homicide victims are black males. Overall, Black men are twice as likely to be unemployed than whites or Hispanics, making up 40% of the prison population, but only 14% of the population in the United States. Having identified a direct link between economic status, education and prison, these numbers will only get worse. 

Recognizing this crisis, The Race and Justice Project of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC), in conjunction with the Black Male Initiative of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College will hold its second At Promise summit on Thursday, April 9 from 10 AM until 3:30 PM in the Conference Center at Cincinnati State.  The At Promise Summit will discuss solutions to the problems identified in OJPC's report and will tackle the local school to prison pipeline epidemic, which leads more black males to prison than to college.


Criminal justice is the theme for this one day event.  Judges, police, attorneys, social workers, educators, legislators and faith-based leaders will collaborate on identifying and implementing policies and procedures to overcome the disparities that cause African-American males to be most at risk for having sustained contact with Ohio's legal systems.  


According to Cincinnati State President and Educator John Henderson,  “The reclamation of African American males continues to be one of the most important challenges for our society in the 21st century, as statistics still attest.’’ He believes that educational institutions must intentionally collaborate.  “Knowing the positive impact education and training can have on these numbers, Cincinnati State is committed to making a difference by more aggressively recruiting and graduating African American males,’’ he said, “but turning these statistics around will require more than what Cincinnati State can do alone.’’

Interactive workshops and panel discussions led by legal experts and impacted facilitators will explore topics including: indigent defense; employment and education for ex-offenders; and the factors behind disproportionate minority contact with the system. At Promise Organizers recognize a team effort is critical to change.

“Addressing the disproportionate number of African American males ending up in our local criminal justice system requires a community-wide, coordinated effort to find, and then change, the roots of this disparity," said Angelina N. Jackson, director of the Race and Justice Project for OJPC, a non-partisan legal agency that advocates for criminal justice reform. "The goal of the At Promise initiative is to begin this coordinated effort-first with community conversation, then with community action.” The Race and Justice Project is dedicated to addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system and analyzing the link between substandard public education and the criminal justice system.

For more information, contact Angie Jackson at (513) 421-1108 or (513) 543-9614.



Tracie M. Hunter, Esq.
T.M.Hunter Law Offices/TMH Media Group, LLC
PO Box 14425
Cincinnati, Ohio 45250
(859) 291-2255 (new number)

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