I support Ohio Ballot Issue 1. This measure would move our criminal justice system it the right direction. Everyone I know has a close friend or family member touched by the opium epidemic, the response to addiction should never be punishment. We NEED to be moving individuals suffering from drug addiction into treatment and NOT long jail sentences, which is exactly what issue one aims to do. This measure will also require that savings from sentencing reduction go into rehabilitation programs.
Here’s what this measure will do, according to the official ballot language, provided by the Secretary of State:
“If adopted, the amendment would:
- Require sentence reductions of incarcerated individuals, except individuals incarcerated for murder, rape, or child molestation, by up to 25% if the individual participates in rehabilitative, work, or educational programming.
- Mandate that criminal offenses of obtaining, possessing, or using any drug such as fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and other controlled substances cannot be classified as a felony, but only a misdemeanor.
- Prohibit jail time as a sentence for obtaining, possessing, or using such drugs until an individual’s third offense within 24 months.
- Allow an individual convicted of obtaining, possessing, or using any such drug prior to the effective date of the amendment to ask a court to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor, regardless of whether the individual has completed the sentence.
- Require any available funding, based on projected savings, to be applied to state-administered rehabilitation programs and crime victim funds.
- Require a graduated series of responses, such as community service, drug treatment, or jail time, for minor, non-criminal probation violations.”
Many, like myself, who support this initiative understand that it is not a magic bullet. However, it is a substantial change that will have positive long-term effects, particularly in communities of color across our state which are disproportionately jailed for low-level drug offenses.
Please, consider supporting Ohio Ballot Issue 1 this November 6th.
Read more at Ohio Issue One on Ballotpedia