July 26, 2018
Ohio gubernatorial candidate talking up criminal justice reform while advocating for state constitutional drug sentencing initiative
A couple of week ago, I flagged here an interesting and intricate drug sentencing initiative headed for the November 2018 ballot here in Ohio. As of earlier this week, the "Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation" amendment (in full at this link) officially qualified for the fall ballot as Issue 1. And, as reported in this local article headlined "Cordray, Holder support diversion of drug offenders from prison," this proposal is already receiving high-profile support:
Ohio no longer can afford — both in terms of money and lives — to imprison low-level drug offenders who instead should be diverted to addiction treatment, says Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray. “We need to be tough on violent criminals, but mass incarceration of drug addicts who should be in treatment is unwise, it wastes too much money and it wastes a lot of lives in Ohio,” Cordray said.
The former Ohio attorney general was joined by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss criminal justice reform at a Thursday campaign event at the Downtown YWCA. The Democrat who served under former President Barack Obama spoke out against “warehousing” minor criminal offenders, saying governors and state attorneys general must steer new policy courses.
Holder chided Republican President Donald Trump and his U.S. attorney, Jeff Sessions, for “going back to the bad, old days of unthinking (criminal) sentences” for non-violent offenders who deserve another chance.
Cordray underlined his strong support for state Issue 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot that would reclassify low-level felony drug use and possession charges to first-degree misdemeanors punishable by only six months in jail, with the goal of diverting offenders to drug treatment. It also would potentially allow the release of all current such offenders from state prisons. “I believe It will set the way toward a policy of being smart on crime in the future, smart on how we use taxpayers’ dollars, smart on how we build people’s potential to be productive citizens in our society,” Cordray said.
Holder and Cordray agreed such a sentencing reform would be neither easier nor cheap in the short run, but provide savings and resuscitate more Ohioans from drugs and failed lives in the long run.
Comment is being sought from the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Mike DeWine, Ohio’s attorney general, whether he supports or opposes the statewide ballot issue.
The administration of Republican Gov. John Kasich is spending up to $58 million over two years to divert a flood of non-violent felony offenders, many convicted of drug possession amid the opioid crisis, from state prisons to local programs. Many counties, however, are not accepting the money, saying it would not cover all local costs. More than a fourth of state inmates are non-violent drug offenders....
A Republican National Committee spokeswoman lambasted the pair. “Richard Cordray’s decision to fund-raise with disgraced former Attorney General Eric Holder proves just how swampy and out-of-touch he is with Ohioans. You can tell a lot about a person based on the company they keep, and if Cordray chooses Eric Holder as an ally, then Ohioans ought to be wary and steer clear of Richard Cordray,” said Mandi Merritt.
Prior related post:
- Interesting and intricate Ohio drug sentencing initiative poised to qualify for November 2018 ballot
July 26, 2018 at 04:36 PM | Permalink
I think a constitutional amendment would be a big mistake.
Posted by: beth | Jul 26, 2018 10:08:18 PM