The Vincentian Ohio Action Network has prioritized criminal justice reform as a primary issue of importance to our organization. The issues of the justice system and the role it plays in creating and perpetuating poverty and a lifelong struggle to those with previous convictions has resulted in it being prioritized by all of our Think Tanks, which include many formerly incarcerated people and their families.
Since 2014, VOAN has played an active and important role in organizing those most directly impacted by the justice system to advocate for change. In 2014, we formed the "Restored Citizens and Communities for Change" network in Columbus, which met monthly for three years, building a network of directly impacted people, social service providers, families of the incarcerated, and people of faith in order to study criminal justice reform issues and mobilize for change. In 2017, we shifted our focus toward building the ARCH program and hired a formerly incarcerated person on our team to help develop in reach and accompaniment programs.
We continue to track the barriers and needs associated with the prison system and reentry. We have been organizing formerly incarcerated people in a number of other counties, bringing the information we have generated and the connections formed with RCC4C forward towards ongoing mobilization in the area of policy change at the statehouse level. We maintain a network of formerly incarcerated individuals who help provide direction and leadership in this work.
This work has included leadership in successful campaigns related to statewide issues like Ban the Box and SB 66. We also have also engaged legislators about our focused on Rehabilitation, Restoration and Redemption, holding a successful legislative luncheon which helped formerly incarcerated people and their families dialogue with legislative leaders. We testified on how work restrictions with Medicaid would negatively impact those with criminal convictions. We worked with the community on Issue One, and continue to advocate for reductions in the prison population and reinvestment into the community for treatment and supportive services.
If you are interested in becoming involved in our criminal justice advocacy, please contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org