FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: ORG General Number – (614) 300-0529
Date: October 8, 2018
SUBJECT: VOTE YES on ISSUE 1
It’s time to end the decades old over incarceration of Ohioans on nonviolent drug charges
(Columbus, Ohio) The Ohio Rights Group – the state’s foremost medical marijuana patient group – urges Ohio voters to cast their ballots on November 6th in favor of Issue 1, the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment . This is a long-awaited and much broader remake of the 2002 Ohio Drug Treatment in Lieu of Incarceration Amendment 1, which had it passed, would have significantly reduced Ohio’s nonviolent prison population, something Issue 1 will do in several important ways:
Require that the sentence of incarcerated individuals be reduced by up to 25%, if they participate in rehabilitative, work, or educational programming. (Exception: Those incarcerated for murder, rape, or child molestation.)
Mandate that criminal offenses for drug use or possession cannot be classified as felonies, only misdemeanors.
Prohibit jail time for drug use or possession until the third offense within 24 months.
Allow those convicted of drug use or possession prior to the amendment’s effective date to ask a court to reduce their conviction to a misdemeanor, regardless of whether they have completed the sentence.
Require funds from the amendment’s projected savings to be applied to state administered rehabilitation programs and crime victim funds.
Require graduated sanctions like community service, drug treatment, or jail time, for minor, non-criminal probation violations.
Read the Full Text of Issue 1 here.
Our nation’s “War on Drugs” has proven to be miserable failure. Since 2002, when alternative drug policies were considered in Amendment 1, a total of roughly 7 million U.S. citizens each year have either been incarcerated or faced some form of community supervision. Although there is bound to be significant overlap, Americans affected by over incarceration sum to 100+ million over the last 16 years.
Ohio prisons currently hold around 50,000 inmates, roughly the same number as two decades ago, regardless of reductions in violent crime. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that, for 15% of those inmates, a nonviolent drug conviction represents their most serious offense. That equates to around 7,500 individuals in Ohio. With an average daily cost of $72.33, the state will have spent an estimated $198 million housing them in 2018. Extrapolated over the last 16 years, that outlay would have amounted to $3 billion.
Despite staggering incarceration rates and costs, our state is facing an opioid crisis that took a record 4,854 lives in 2017. The Kasich administration is slated to spend more than $1 billion to fight the crisis. Certainly, money would have been better spent treating addicts than incarcerating them, as envisioned in 2002.
The Ohio Rights Group believes that the time has come to correct the decades old over incarceration of Ohioans and to implement sensible sentencing and jail time policies. This is why the group endorses Issue 1 and encourages Ohio citizens to pass this measure, which will appear on their ballots for the November 6th General Election.
In response for a clear-cut need for timely, factual, researched and compliant information concerning new medicines and treatment options, the Ohio Rights Group has formed the Ambassadors Program™. Ambassadors will serve as liaisons, public speakers, facilitators and educators for meetings, civic groups, churches, townhalls, debates and other events. The Program will be managed by the Ohio Rights Group Education Fund, which can receive tax deductible contributions. Those interested in becoming an Ambassador or securing an Ambassador for an upcoming event should call 833-ORG-TEACH (833-674-8322), email ORGAmbassadors@gmail.com or visit the Ambassadors Program on the web at www.ohiorightsgroup.info/ambassadors.
The Ohio Rights Group is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of Ohioans to make medical, therapeutic and industrial use of the Cannabis plant and supports the growing number of individuals, organizations and industries facilitating those uses.
This press release can be viewed in PDF format here.