If you think the worst of the worst are the only people in prison, think again.
Our addiction to incarceration has reached unprecedented levels. With only five percent of the world’s population, we have 25 percent of its prison population. Ohio is one of the top 10 prison states in the country and our prisons are dangerously overcrowded.
Who’s in Prison?
Of the people who are serving time in an Ohio prison:
- 80 percent of those incarcerated have a documented history of alcohol and/or drug abuse.
- 41 percent have been convicted of low-level offenses.
- 25 percent did not break the law, they broke a probation rule.
- 80 percent do not have a high school diploma.
The Truth about Rehabilitation
Serving your sentence does not end when released. One in six Ohioans has a criminal conviction. Because of this, people who have been convicted are often barred from employment, housing, student loans, and public benefits. It’s hard to be rehabilitated when the doors of opportunity are closed.
But It’s Cheaper!
We know that government investments in education, public assistance, infrastructure, and economic opportunity help us and those in our communities succeed. Why then are we cutting these essential programs, yet increasing spending on our prisons?
Serving your sentence does not end when released. One in six Ohioans has a criminal conviction.
The way to save money is by stopping the incarceration of so many Ohioans and instead invest in programs that provide opportunities to stay out of prison.
Communities Are Better Off, Right?
A Vera Institute of Justice Report has deemed mass incarceration as one of the major public health challenges of our time. Neighborhoods with high incarceration rates also have poor health outcomes.
In Ohio, there are 56,000 children in Ohio with an incarcerated parent, who are more likely to struggle with academic achievement, anxiety, depression, aggression, and truancy. Highly punitive laws that punish people for low-level, non-violent crime tear families apart. We also feel the loss of so many people from our communities when trying to build neighborhood cohesiveness.
America and Ohio must treat our addiction to incarceration and we need to act soon. Our communities, our families, and our budgets can’t take much more.
Then learn more about the ACLU’s "Prisons for Profit" video.