On Tuesday, November 6th, Ohioans will be headed to the polls to determine the fate of Ohio Issue 1 also known as the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment. The legislation would change the state’s constitution to reduce drug penalties and send fewer people to prison.
Individuals caught using or possessing drugs would face a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six (6) months in county jail, rather than a fourth or fifth degree felony. Anyone convicted of those crimes would face probation for the first and second offenses with 24 months. On the third offense, the person could be sent to jail.
As of September 2018, there were 49,345 people incarcerated in Ohio’s prisons. The average cost per inmate is $26,400 each year. If Issue 1 passes, it could reduce the prison population by more than 10,000 people and could save the state more than $136 million per year. The savings that are generated by Issue 1 are earmarked for drug treatment, trauma care for crime survivors and local government to adjust to the new rules.
For the Women’s Recovery Center, having access to revenue that had been used to warehouse individuals in prison to offering increased access to life-saving treatment services is an easy decision. For those that commit non-violent passion charges as misdemeanors, it could help individuals find employment. In Ohio, 573 professions are off-limits to individuals convicted of a felony drug possession.
Through the work of the Women’s Recovery Center, we witness recovery every day. We believe in second chances and see the impact keeping families together and support their healing.