Criminal Justice

Reforming Ohio’s broken criminal justice system

05.20.12

The Ohio legislature took an important first step toward fixing our bloated system in passing House Bill 86. HB 86 made needed changes to the juvenile justice system and addresses Ohio’s overcrowded prison system by:

  • Increasing the number of days prisoners can earn towards early release in return for participating in educational and vocational training programs;
  • Eliminating the crack-cocaine sentencing disparity;
  • Eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for many low-level drug crimes;
  • Increasing diversion programs for low-level drug offenders in lieu of conviction;
  • Raising the threshold used in determining penalties in theft-related crimes; and
  • Providing diversion programs for child support violators.

HB 86 enacts many of the commonsense reforms suggested in the ACLU of Ohio report, “Reform Cannot Wait: A Comprehensive Examination of the Cost of Incarceration in Ohio from 1991-2010.” The legislation also begins to address some of the concerns the ACLU of Ohio highlighted in “Overcharging, Overspending, Overlooking: Cuyahoga County’s Costly War on Drugs.”