It’s time to stop wasting prison space on people convicted of nonviolent crimes and people that are no longer a threat to public safety. Ohio needs a balanced approach to public safety that includes treatment, rehabilitation and accountability.
A broad, bipartisan coalition of community, faith, law enforcement, and business groups has formed to support this measure and help Ohio improve safety and reduce prison costs.
The Neighborhood Safety and Drug Treatment Amendment reduces the number of people in state prison for low-level, nonviolent crimes and puts the money to better use by directing future savings to drug treatment and victim services. It does not change laws or funding for incarcerating people convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape, and child molestation.
Specifically, the amendment:
- Changes low-level nonviolent simple drug possession crimes from felonies to misdemeanors so people convicted of these crimes are held accountable locally instead of in state prison.
- Requires graduated responses, like community service, when people on probation violate minor probation requirements, like missing a meeting with their probation officer, instead of sending these people to prison.
- Authorizes the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to provide earned time credit incentives to people in prison to rehabilitate themselves to reduce repeat offending.
- Directs all prison cost savings generated from this Amendment - estimated to be at least tens of millions of dollars annually - to local drug treatment programs, especially for people suffering from addiction and cycling in and out of the justice system, and trauma recovery programs for victims of crime.