Ohio’s General Assembly has a serious mass incarceration problem. Each year, legislators of both parties introduce laws that create new crimes or extend the scope of existing laws and lengthen prison and jail sentences. This is the Statehouse-to-Prison Pipeline.
The sweeping expansion of criminal law into peoples’ lives should concern elected officials in both parties. Our jails and prisons are overflowing, wavering near 130% capacity. Considered alone, many criminal sentencing bills may sound innocuous. Individually, few add significantly to the prison population. But, together, year after year, the lawmaking practice of ceaselessly inventing new crimes and longer sentences causes the tide of imprisonment to rise. It’s mass incarceration by a thousand cuts. Even when crime falls, imprisonment does not. And Ohio families, communities, and taxpayers are bearing the brunt of our growing criminal justice system.
The ACLU of Ohio has been monitoring the Statehouse-to-Prison Pipeline for the past three years. On average, 1 out of 10 bills introduced in either the House or Senate creates a new crime or expands sentences.
In just the first half of the 2017-2018 general assembly…
Eight of these bills would expand the failed war on drugs, putting more people behind bars, while doing nothing to proactively address addiction as a public health issue or health our communities. Check out our one-pager for more information on Ohio’s Statehouse-to-Prison Pipeline.
- Read our 2017 Statehouse-to-Prison Pipeline Report
- Read our 2015 Statehouse-to-Prison Pipeline Report