Drafting Contest: An Ohio “Second Look” Statute



A robust national discussion about how best to remedy extreme and unwarranted prison sentences has prompted various new proposed remedies. In hopes of encouraging discussion and debate around the creation of a comprehensive “second-look sentencing provision” in Ohio law, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and the Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC), a statewide criminal-justice nonprofit, are sponsoring a legislative-drafting contest for law students and recent law school graduates.

Contest Objective and Deliverable

DEPC and OJPC encourage law students and recent graduates (from class years 2015-2020) to submit (1) proposed language for a new Ohio statutory provision and (2) accompanying commentary to allow courts to take a second look at Ohio prison sentences. The proposal should address both substance (e.g., when and to whom does it apply) and procedure (e.g., how should such a second look be initiated and decided). Entrants may, but are not required to, address the public-health issues that have come to the fore with COVID-19 (e.g., the proposal might have a special provision allowing more prisoners to seek resentencing when a public-health emergency has been declared). Group submissions are acceptable and encouraged.


Contest Timeline and Awards

Submissions are due June 30, 2020. The winning submission will receive a prize of $2,000, and up to two runner-up prizes of $1,000 will also be awarded. If a group submission is awarded prize money, it will be divided equally among the groups members. All winning submissions will be published via DEPC and OJPC’s websites. The full version of the winning proposal will also be presented to the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission at a forthcoming meeting and may be used in DEPC and OJPC’s ongoing efforts to advocate for improvements in Ohio law.

Webinar and Announcement of Winners

Fighting for a Second Look: Efforts in Ohio and Across the Nation
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 | 2-3:00 p.m. EST

Join the OJPC and DEPC for a webinar that brings together leading advocates to discuss efforts across the country to create second-look provisions, as well as to announce the winner of this writing competition.


Shakyra Diaz, managing director of partnerships/Ohio state director, Alliance for Safety and Justice
William Johnston, senior program officer, Open Society Foundations
Nicole D. Porter, director of advocacy, The Sentencing Project
Michael Serota, associate deputy director, Academy for Justice, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
David Singleton, executive director, Ohio Justice & Policy Center

Douglas A. Berman, executive director, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law


Questions can be directed to Jana Hrdinova at hrdinova.1(at)osu.edu or Michael Zuckerman at mzuckerman(at)ohiojpc.org.