In an effort to encourage private employers to hire ex-offenders, legislators in the Ohio House have introduced a bill to create an Ohio Reentry Program. The proposed bill creates a fund to reimburse employers for employing ex-offenders for at least two years.

As part of the proposed legislation, the bill amends part of the workers’ compensation laws. Specifically, for workers’ compensation purposes, ex-offenders hired through this program will be considered employees of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation, rather than the private business that hired them.

Consequently, should an ex-offender suffer a work-related injury while performing their work duties as part of this program, the private business will not be held accountable for the workers’ compensation costs. In addition, private businesses will not be liable for common-law or statutory damages for an injury arising out of an ex-offender’s participation in the program.

We will continue to monitor this legislation as it progresses through the Ohio Senate.