By Emma Keeshin
I wish this was a satirical headline published by The Onion. But it’s something we actually see and hear in the halls of the Statehouse from the officials we Ohioans have elected to represent us.
Because of policy decisions, our state’s incarceration rate has more than quadrupled since 1970.
By Emma Keeshin
Protest photo outside of Cuyahoga County Justice Center – Tuesday, January 8, 2019
You’ve likely seen the headlines: seven people died in the Cuyahoga County jail between June and October 2018, prompting a U.S. Marshals investigation and then, scathing report detailing the shocking conditions people are subjected to at the hands of the County.
By Emma Keeshin
When we first met with Toledo city officials to discuss safety it was the summer of 2017, and it had just been announced that Toledo would partner with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on an anti-violent crime initiative. Less crime, less violence – what could be bad about that?
To usher in the summer of 2018, the state of Ohio distinguished itself in vigorously enforcing the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and the detention of families. In the first week of June, 114 people were captured at Corso’s Flower and Gardening Center in Sandusky.
When someone calls 911, they expect that a first-responder is going to arrive and provide assistance. One wouldn’t expect that an eviction notice could arrive shortly after multiple calls for help, because it simply doesn’t make sense. For some Ohioans living in 50 cities with so called “nuisance” orders, this is their reality.
This morning the ACLU of Ohio delivered hundreds of petitions to Judge John J. Russo from residents in Northeast Ohio who support expedited bail reform policies in Cuyahoga County. The petition delivery followed the release of a report from the Cuyahoga County task force on bail, which was released on Friday, March 16.
A mayor’s court is a local-level court that hears cases about traffic violations, minor misdemeanors, and other offenses that cannot result in jail time, and they only operate in Ohio and Louisiana. In Ohio, someone does not have to be a judge, or even have a law degree, to hear cases in mayor’s courts.
In September of 2017, Cleveland.com released shocking surveillance footage of officers at Cuyahoga County’s Juvenile Detention Center standing guard as teenagers fought each other. Grainy footage shows a gray industrial common area, adorned in concrete and linoleum, as a burly detention officer enters with two young men.
Imagine receiving a notice from your landlord that you are being evicted because city officials have determined that your conduct makes the property a “nuisance.” Perhaps your teenage child has stayed out past curfew one too many times causing your neighbors to complain.
When you think of the term “bail” do you tend to visualize bond agents, bounty hunters, and flashing neon signs with names like ABC Bonds, A-1 Bonds, EZ Bonds? That’s what we thought.
The reason you likely think this way is because that’s what you’ve been taught to think by what you’ve seen or heard about the American bail process.
Alva E. Campbell Jr. is scheduled to be executed at 10 a.m. on November 15th at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, OH. It will be the third execution this year in Ohio, following a moratorium on the death penalty after a severely botched execution took place in 2014.
What is State Issue 1?
Also known as Marsy’s Law or the Ohio Crime Victim Bill of Rights (OCVBR), it would amend Article I, Section 10a of the Ohio Constitution to establish enforceable victim rights within the Ohio Constitution. Voters will decide this issue at the November 7, 2017 election.
Historically, a judge set bail based on a single consideration: whether a person would reappear in court to answer for the alleged crime. It wasn’t until later in the 20th century that nationwide reforms allowed judges to consider public safety as a reason to deny bail.
Cities across the state are using an old philosophy to address the current opioid crisis: charge drug addicts with a crime. Specifically in Ohio, cities are charging overdose victims with inducing panic, which includes a first degree misdemeanor, up to 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.
By Dan Rogan
“Information is a Right: The Press’s Role in Illuminating Mass Incarceration and Race”
With Keynote Speaker Jamil Smith
The 2017 Belle and Ed Likover Lecture
Sunday, October 22, 2 p.m.
Cleveland State University
Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Center, Annex
2000 Prospect Ave.
Our two international interns from Humanity In Action, Julie Vainqueur and Lukasz Niparko, articulate their responses to Ava DuVernay’s powerful documentary, 13th.
Julie Vainqueur, writing from a French, Afrocaribbean perspective.
I want to communicate about issues that matter, to listen to the unheard, amplify their voices, and to educate others about the social injustices of the world.
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.
While President Trump’s executive order against immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries is in the courts, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves that the stated reasons for immigration reform—protecting against terrorism from the Middle East—are not supported by the facts.
The ACLU of Ohio has been fighting “prisons for profit” for years. The trend to privatize prisons as a method to reduce costs has been ineffective, and only contributes to the surging rates of mass incarceration, with Ohio prisons at 130% of capacity.
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.
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.
After bringing the legendary Selma marches to the big screen, Ava Duvernay returns with a new Netflix documentary, 13th, telling the true story behind the 13th amendment. Passed in 1865, it declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Advances in media and technology have brought desperately needed visibility to the pressing issue of police violence. Visibility alone, however, cannot create long-term accountability and transparency in law enforcement. That is why the successful implementation of the Deaths In Custody Reporting Act (DICRA) is crucial.
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.