COLUMBUS— The fourth iteration of the ACLU of Ohio’s Statehouse-to-Prison Pipeline report, issued today, reveals that 8.1% of all bills introduced by Ohio legislators during the 134th General Assembly (2021-2022) sought to create new crimes, enhanced existing sentences, or expanded current criminal laws.
“Mass incarceration begins at the statehouse,” said Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio. “The effects of continually doing what doesn’t work are well-documented, and the purpose of this report is to highlight the role and responsibility of the Ohio General Assembly in maintaining our state’s ongoing, mass incarceration crisis. Many of the so-called "Pipeline Bills" may seem innocuous, but the result is a relentless, haphazard escalation of laws that negatively affect people, families, and communities and ultimately makes Ohio less safe.”
The ACLU of Ohio has analyzed four full legislative sessions and with each report are able to identify trends across the years and the chambers. While the total number of “Pipeline” bills introduced fell compared to the 133rd and 132nd OGA, more bills made it across the ultimate finish line.
“Even the mere introduction of so many of these bills sends the signal to fellow legislators, stakeholders, news media, and others that the answer to almost everything legislators and others do not like, or do not understand is solved through criminalization and mass incarceration. This trend must stop,” added Daniels.
In the report, Ohio’s Statehouse-to-Prison Pipeline: 134th General Assembly (2021-2022), the ACLU of Ohio urges legislative leaders to:
- Introduce and pass legislation that ends the reliance on mass incarceration for problems only made worse by jail, prison, and felony records;
- End the unnecessary introduction of bills and passage of laws that ultimately make Ohioans less safe, not more.