Even after release from prison, freedom is a conditional term for a felon in Ohio. Many rights U.S. citizens enjoy are lost or must be earned by a convict even after parole has ended. The Ohio legislature defines felons' civil rights in numerous statutes -- 2961.01, 2923.14 and 2919.25 -- of its legal code.
Felons in Ohio may not vote during their term of incarceration. After being released through parole, conditional pardon or into a community-controlled correctional facility, the right to vote will be restored. Similarly, incarcerated convicts may not sign nominating, initiative, referendum or recall petitions. However, they may serve on juries after release.
Unless the conviction is reversed or annulled, Ohio felons may not hold public office. Further, anyone convicted of bribery or embezzlement is barred from politics even if the crime was not a felony. This law is particular to Ohio. Otherwise, felons may run for Congress as long as they satisfy the applicable age and residency requirements.
Though the Ohio State Bar does not explicitly prohibit released felons from practicing law, they must “be approved as to character, fitness and moral qualifications.” The Bar will send two members of its admissions committee to interview the applicant. A paroled felon must demonstrate a sense of remorse and reform during this meeting. If the committee declines the application, the felon may appeal to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness. A hearing will be held, during which the board votes on admission. If the felon's request is declined again, he may have an automatic review before the Ohio Supreme Court for a final decision.
Those convicted of violent felonies may be eligible to carry firearms with court approval. To regain this right, a convict must finish parole or any other post-release control and must lead a law-abiding life after discharge. This law does not apply to carrying military weapons. Further, the court may revoke the right to bear arms at any time for cause and with sufficient notice to the applicant.
Noel Lawrence has written on cultural affairs and cinema for Release Print and OtherZine since 2000. He holds a graduate degree in Russian literature from Stanford University and currently lives in Los Angeles.