Criminal Justice Reform is getting an increasing level of attention nationally and in state capitals from coast to coast – from legislative fixes to ballot initiatives, addressing our criminal justice system is a hot topic and high priority across the political spectrum.
In Ohio, in part due to the Opioid crisis sweeping across the state, there are multiple efforts to address the issue. What we know about Ohio’s prison status:
- Ohio has the 5th highest prison population, behind states with significantly larger populations (Texas, Florida, California,) and Georgia.
- It cost $1.8 billion a year to operate Ohio’s prison systems.
- Ohio prisons are designed to hold 38,600 people (currently at 130% capacity).
- Average cost per inmate: $26,364 a year.
- 1 in 4 of all people newly admitted to prison in Ohio are there for a drug offense.
*Statistics from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (www.drc.ohio.gov)
Advocates in Ohio are proposing a ballot initiative called the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment to divert low-level drug offenders away from prison and reinvesting the money saved in community rehabilitation programs and victims services.
Ohio is not alone. On the heels of reforms from states like Florida and California, several other states are proposing sweeping changes. Massachusetts’ criminal justice bill is awaiting the Governor’s signature. Six separate criminal justice bills are moving through Oklahoma’s legislature this session.
In addition to state-level efforts, Congress is working on a new bi-partisan criminal justice reform bill, which just passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. Media from Fox News to the New York Times are covering and supporting criminal justice reform efforts across the country.
Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC will continue to follow criminal justice reform efforts across the country.