There has been a lot of talking and debating about Issue 1 for the state of Ohio. It seems like a lot of the law makers as well as the citizens are divided about the Issue in its entirety. Issue 1, or, The Amendment to Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs, would add a new section 12 to Article XV of the Ohio Constitution. To be honest, I think due to this issue actually having such an impact on changing the constitution, that is the reason people are not 100% sure if it’s something they should go with.
Now, there is a lot of legal jargon pertaining to the issue & to be clear on everything entailed in the issue, you actually have to read it in its entirety. So please click this link to read it fully. Knowledge is power… please read this.
Now this amendment is designed to reduce the number of people in state prisons for low-level, nonviolent drug possession; drug use offenses; or for non-criminal probation violations. In addition, it would provide sentence credits for participation in rehabilitative programs; and is intended to direct the savings achieved by such reductions in incarceration to substance abuse treatment programs, crime victim programs, probation programs, graduated responses programs, and rehabilitation programs. In addition, this amendment will
- Reclassify drug offenses from felony to misdemeanor for both accused and convicted drug users.
- Require the state to spend savings due to a reduction of the number of prison inmates on drug treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Lawmakers feel like this amendment will be dangerous if passed because judges will not be able to use incarceration when necessary and it will make it more difficult to prosecute drug traffickers.
Some of the proponents of the amendment believe there are many good points about this proposal.
- It would reduce the number of people in state prisons for low-level crimes
- It would create a sentence reduction credits program for inmates’ participation in rehabilitative, work, or educational programs
- It would make the possession, obtainment and use of drugs no more than a misdemeanor.
- It would save tens of millions of dollars annually in prison spending and direct the savings to addiction treatment and victims of crime.
This is totally my opinion, but I have to tell you guys that I am definitely supporting Issue 1!!! No questions asked. Now I do understand the concerns of the people who are in opposition to the amendment, however; when you look at the statistics for the people (according to race) in the prison systems, you would understand why I am taking the stand for Issue 1. Recently, one of my employees (@_worldwidewayne_) was WRONGFULLY arrested and thrown in jail!!! This was the 1st time he had ever stepped a foot inside of a jail, and as a veteran… I just cannot imagine how he must have been feeling, but I am thankful at the fact he has me as an employer and he didn’t lose his job behind the negligence of the criminal justice systm. Please take a look at his story.. click the link below.
But back to the race statistics for people in jail/prison
- While people of color make up about 30 percent of the United States’ population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned.
- According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.
- Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated.
- According to recent data by the Department of Education, African American students are arrested far more often than their white classmates.
- African American youth have higher rates of juvenile incarceration and are more likely to be sentenced to adult prison.
- The war on drugs has been waged primarily in communities of color where people of color are more likely to receive higher offenses
- Once convicted, black offenders receive longer sentences compared to white offenders.
Theses racial disparities have deprived people of color of their most basic civil rights, making criminal-justice reform the civil rights issue of our time. Through mass imprisonment and the over representation of individuals of color within the criminal justice and prison system, people of color have experienced an adverse impact on themselves and on their communities from barriers to reintegrating into society to engaging in the democratic process. Eliminating the racial disparities inherent to our nation’s criminal-justice policies and practices must be at the heart of a renewed, refocused, and re-energized movement for racial justice in America.
Issue 1 will be the start of this movement. Again… this is only my opinion and I urge everybody to vote yes on Issue 1! If you truly care about your fellow man/woman, despite the color of their skin, saying yes to Issue 1 will help us to focus on the people & rehabilitation.