The FBI could soon be getting access to Ohio’s law enforcement records, including the state’s facial recognition database.
A recent report by the Government Accounting Office raised serious concerns about how the FBI manages its use of technology. They pointed to failures to determine error rates and test data accuracy, non-existent privacy policies, and an overall lack of transparency and notice to the public about how their data was being used.
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A recent report on Cuyahoga County’s bail practices illustrates that Ohio’s bail system is broken. In the eyes of the law, every defendant is innocent until proven guilty―so why is Cuyahoga County jailing large amounts of people before they are convicted of a crime? The reason: the cash bail system unfairly keeps low-income people in jail.
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The bail report, which was commissioned by the ACLU of Ohio and conducted by the Pretrial Justice Institute―a leading research and policy organization committed to supporting fair and just pretrial practices― showed that nearly a third of all people who had to pay $500 or less to make bail remained in jail through the conclusion of their case, whether it be trial, a plea deal, or another resolution.
Toledo has been a leader in criminal justice reform, but a new Department of Justice (DOJ) partnership will damage this progress. Toledo was selected as one of 12 cities nationally to “receive significant assistance” in fighting violent crime, but make no mistake: the DOJ’s National Public Safety Partnership will not benefit Toledo residents. It is merely Jeff Sessions’ most recent attempt to bring back outdated, harmful policies.
Toledo must keep moving forward — not retreat to the 1980s.
We need compassionate, thoughtful, and innovative strategies to combat crime and mass incarceration. This partnership will rehash disastrous ideas like the “War on Crime,” the “War on Drugs,” and broken windows policing. These policies have proven ineffective and put public safety at risk by fueling our mass incarceration system. Don’t just take our word for it. In the last six months, the DOJ has initiated several alarming changes including:
- Reinstituting policies that encourage harsh penalties for drug possession and use.
- Enforcing immigration policies that target people of color and instill fear in communities.
- Commissioning a review of all existing consent decrees aimed at reforming police practices.
- Expanding investment in private prisons so that corporations could profit.
The Ohio Senate has only been back in session for a month, but anti-choice legislators have wasted no time resuming their crusade against reproductive rights. Last week, state senators reintroduced an unconstitutional bill designed to stigmatize a woman’s personal decision to end a pregnancy, and make abortion care less accessible.
Senate Bill 28 is a transparent attempt to make it more difficult for Ohio’s abortion clinics to serve the women who rely on them for safe and nonjudgmental care, by requiring the burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue. Like Ohio’s other health-care providers, abortion clinics already follow state-regulated procedures for the safe and appropriate handling of all forms of biological tissue. This legislation is among the most radical in the nation as it includes not only fetuses, but also zygotes and other collections of cells. There is no medically justifiable reason for forcing abortion clinics to adhere to this new, highly burdensome requirement.
Stop the death penalty in Ohio. Contact Governor Kasich and urge him to halt all executions.
Learn about our priorities for the year by reading our ACLU of Ohio Foundation Work Plan.
Writing your legislators? Use these tips.
Are you concerned a judge has acted improperly in a court case? See our step by step explanation of how to file a complaint against a judge.
Not sure who represents you in the statehouse? Click here to find out.
Check out our legislative priorities for the Ohio General Assembly this session.
We look forward to working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to:
See the current Ohio General Assembly Committee Hearing Schedule for legislation with a civil liberties component.