Wednesday, September the 13th, marks the second execution to take its place in the State of Ohio following a three year rupture after Governor John Kasich launched a moratorium on executions, subsequent to the torturous effects of the lethal concoction of midazolam and hydromorphone used in the execution of Dennis McGuire on January 16th, 2014.
Every day, people with felony and misdemeanor convictions are released from jails and prisons across the state, ready to start over and become upstanding, contributing members of society. For many of these individuals, reality kicks in and they come to realize that their punishment isn’t truly over.
By Emma Keeshin
With so many candidates for Cleveland mayor and City Council this year, it can be hard to keep track of all of them. But something you must keep track of is their commitment to police reform in Cleveland.
That’s because Cleveland is in year two of a multi-year police reform process, known as the consent decree, which is overseen by a federal judge after the U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday to discuss the opioid epidemic both on the state and national level. It is no exaggeration to call it an epidemic. In 2016 alone, over 4100 Ohioans died from opioid overdoses, marking a 36% increase from 2015’s record-breaking number.
Once again, Ohio is at the heart of it all. There is perhaps nowhere in the nation grappling with the opioid crisis as much as the Buckeye State. In fact, leaders recently filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies, alleging they were misleading the public about the addictiveness of painkillers.
“On Wednesday, June 14th, Sheriff Jim Neil declared a state of emergency at the Hamilton County Justice Center due to jail overcrowding. The ACLU of Ohio has taken bail reform head on, and it is rapidly becoming one of our main criminal justice focus areas.
The only good thing about Washington Court House arresting naloxone-revived opioid users is that it shows everything wrong with criminal justice today. Since February, this town nestled between Columbus and Cincinnati has been charging overdose victims with “Inducing Panic” after emergency responders revive them.
Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio, is a realistic optimist—a valuable trait for the rare dissenting voice against mass incarceration in the Ohio Statehouse.
Our powerful new report, Statehouse to Prison Pipeline 2017, sprang from Gary’s everyday experience listening to legislators, police and prosecutors as they earnestly justify destructive policies: sending more people to prison, for more reasons, for longer periods.
On Friday, January 27, ACLU of Ohio senior policy director Mike Brickner spoke to participants at a symposium on criminal justice reform, which was held at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Brickner touched on a familiar but too often ignored problem: Ohio’s growing prison population.
As part of our “tough on crime” mentality, many elected officials and members of the public have supported the belief that people convicted of serious violent crimes are deserving of death, yet few of us look beyond the crime to see how these sentences are handed down.
Sentenced to ten years, out in two. Outrageous!
The myth that prisoners serve small fractions of sentences is one of the most destructive falsehoods driving the tragedy of mass incarceration. In Ohio and elsewhere, the use of parole and probation has shrunk to levels that can only be described as harmful to us all.
By Mike Uth
The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch recently released a startling and heart-breaking report on the drug war called Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States. The title’s “25 seconds” refers to the frequency of drug possession arrests in the United States—not selling or making drugs, simply the act of having a drug or, sometimes, merely drug residue.
Many Americans believe a felony or other criminal conviction prevents you from voting. In reality, it depends on the state.
The patchwork of state laws feeds the myth that people with criminal records cannot vote. This lack of consistency in state laws makes it confusing for returning citizens.
By Steve David
Last week, the Department of Justice announced an end to using private prisons to hold federal prisoners. This decision followed a scathing report which highlighted that private prisons are less safe, provide less services and programs, and do not substantially save on costs.
Attorney Andrea Burton didn’t walk into a local Youngstown courtroom with a large banner or poster — she simply had a small metal button with the words “Black Lives Matter” on her lapel. That was enough for Judge Robert Milich to sentence her to five days in the Mahoning County Jail because she refused to remove the pin.
By Joanna Saul
The RNC is barely underway and civil liberties are already at the forefront of the discussion.
Following the tragic shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association sent a letter to Governor John Kasich requesting that he outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until after the RNC is over.
Mr. Kenyatta is a prisoner rights activist and businessman who was released from prison 13 years ago. He spent time in solitary confinement at both of Ohio’s maximum-security prisons and was part of the ACLU lawsuit, Austin v Wilkinson, which drastically changed prisoner classification in Ohio to ensure more humane living conditions.
By Dan Rogan
Orange is the New Black – the binge-worthy, Peabody Award Winning, Netflix series – returns with Season 4 on June 17. Last season, the fictional Litchfield Correctional Facility faced closing its doors due to lack of funding and is soon after taken over by a private prison corporation.
This post is part of the joint report between Disability Rights Ohio and the ACLU of Ohio – “Shining a Light on Solitary Confinement: Why Ohio Needs Reform.” Take action to reform solitary confinement in Ohio.
Justin committed a crime. He was found guilty of aggravated murder and robbery, along with two others.
By Shakyra Diaz
I recently conducted a training for a group of incarcerated women which outlined what to do if you’re stopped by the police. As we discussed how to file a complaint if treated unfairly by an officer, one woman declared, “No one believes a felon.”
The other women in the room nodded their heads in affirmation.
By Steve David
The ACLU of Ohio’s groundbreaking film “Prisons for Profit” has been recognized as one of the top documentaries in 2015 by an international audience.
Most recently, the film has been selected as the Silver Award Winner in the 2015 Spotlight Documentary Film Awards.
By Ellen Kubit
November 23, 2015 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old boy shot and killed by Cleveland police while playing in a park near his home. His family and local activists organized several events over the weekend to celebrate his life and to draw attention to the grand jury investigation overseen by Prosecutor McGinty.
By Shakyra Diaz
This piece is also featured by the Vera Institute.
John and Sam were trapped in a vicious cycle of incarceration. When money was scarce, John would make Sam’s court payment instead of his own so she could stay out of jail and care for their child.
By Dan Rogan
On Monday, November 9th, 2015 the ACLU of Ohio held a press conference to launch its newest and powerful report, In Jail & In Debt: Ohio’s Pay-to-Stay Fees.
Senior Policy Director Mike Brickner spoke briefly to the media about what these fees are and their negative and lasting impact.
By Chris Geggie
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio supports a bipartisan bill which seeks to spare those with severe and persistent mental illness from facing execution in the state of Ohio. This bill came out of the Ohio Supreme Court Task Force, which recommends an end to this barbaric practice.
It is already incredibly difficult for people leaving prison and jail to succeed on the outside. They must contend with criminal records that follow them at every turn. It prevents them from getting certain jobs, or even living in certain apartment buildings.
By Dan Rogan
“We must talk seriously about criminal justice reform because of how close it is connected to racial justice,” said Piper Kerman, discussing the intrinsic relationship between the two issues. Piper’s words struck a chord over 300 attendees at this year’s Ed Likover Memorial Lecture.
Without ever being charged with a crime, you can have your property permanently seized and sold for profit to subsidize law enforcement agency budgets in Ohio. This practice, known as civil asset forfeiture, gives law enforcement agencies the ability to take any asset–such as cash, vehicles, real estate and other personal property–without a warrant, a conviction, or even criminal charges.
By Dan Rogan
Prison is not the easiest topic to make entertaining, but The Washington Post called “Orange is the New Black” “the best TV show about prison ever made.” Of course “Orange is the New Black” is not all entertainment, and not entirely fiction.
With early voting now underway in Ohio, the potential that marijuana may be legalized remains the hottest political topic in our state. With Colorado reporting sales of $100 million in just the last month, it’s ensured that legalization will remain on peoples’ minds here and everywhere else.