Today the U.S. Justice Action Network (USJAN), the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the justice system in Ohio and across the nation, congratulates the Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee on completing their work to identify significant reforms throughout the state’s criminal code that will keep communities safe by reducing those who head to prison and keeping others from returning. The reform package includes many of the policies supported by USJAN, such as diversion and treatment programs for minor drug crimes, expansion of parole and community release programs, and raising the threshold for felony theft. Several of these recommendations are already under consideration by the Legislature.
Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network: “After a thorough review of their existing criminal code, Ohio is ready to take another leap forward on reforming their justice system. We’re proud of the diverse coalition that has come together– law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, business, and political leaders from both sides of the aisle– to offer these common sense recommendations that will make the state safer and ensure taxpayer resources go toward keeping communities safe.
“Already, the Legislature has begun to incorporate the work of this group into their policy priorities for 2017. The Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison Program included in the Senate’s proposed budget is a good start, as is Senate Bill 66, authored by Senators Eklund and Tavares, but the bulk of the recommendations deserve consideration from the Legislature. We hope these leaders who have prioritized this issue – like Governor John Kasich, Senate President Larry Obhof, and House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger– will continue to do so and recognize that these smart policies make for smart politics. In poll after poll, Republicans and Democrats in Ohio support for justice reform measures like these in the high 80s. We urge the state legislature to listen to their constituents, recognize the broad support for these changes and turn these recommendations into law.”