Criminal Justice Press Release

04.01.20

ACLU of Ohio Urges Governor DeWine to Consider Seven Categories When Determining Prison Reductions

Gavel Laying On Side

COLUMBUS –In response to yesterday’s press briefing where Governor DeWine indicated the possibility of reducing Ohio’s prison population on a case-by-case basis, the ACLU of Ohio sent a letter with specific recommendations and criteria of how the DeWine administration should approach decarceration. Today’s letter expands upon the asks made in a letter sent March 27, where the ACLU of Ohio and others outlined Ohio laws and the various executive powers the Governor has to reduce Ohio’s incarcerated populations.

“The safety of those incarcerated and prison staff demand our leaders act quickly and are equipped with proper knowledge to most effectively combat the COVID-19 crisis. Our prison system currently operates about 10,000 people above capacity. We call on Governor DeWine to heed our advice and immediately reduce prison populations to ensure the safety and health of Ohioans behind bars. This situation could turn bleak in a moment’s notice and we must be prepared for rapid decarceration to prevent matters getting far worse,” added Gary Daniels, Chief Lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio.

The ACLU of Ohio asks the Governor to consider the following categories when determining where to make prison reductions: people with health vulnerabilities, people over the age of 60, people with six months or less remaining on their sentence, people with technical violations, people serving for drug possession, non-violent offenders, and people in prison for F4 and F5 offenses.

“We feel compelled to offer as much detail as possible; however, our requests are not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather to demonstrate that meaningful avenues exist to significantly and safely depopulate our bursting prison system now subjected to unprecedented risk,” concluded Daniels.

A copy of the letter is available.