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Resources for Issue 1: Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment Initiative
Issue 1, also known under its original title The Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment, is an effort aimed at amending several aspects of Ohio’s criminal justice system. Given the complex nature of the proposed changes, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center has collected resources to provide relevant information to the public to assist them in their decision making. The resources include the original wording of the initiative, as well as selected media coverage, official position statements from stakeholder groups and relevant information about other states’ similar efforts. The center has also solicited expert commentaries from leading academics that can be found here.
The links below connect to official position statements/press releases of various stakeholder groups:
The information presented below provides a selection of media coverage of Issue 1.
9-8-2018 - State Issue 1 draws fire at GOP luncheon
9-7-2018 - County officials wary of passing Issue 1
9-6-2018 - Issue One approved for ballot
9-2-2018 - County officials wary of passing Issue 1
8-14-2018 - Judges oppose drug sentencing ballot issue
8-4-2018 - Drug sentencing up for vote
Ohio's Issue 1 is not the first time that direct democracy has been used to ask voters to weigh in directly on the question of how should crimes involving small amounts of illegal drugs be classified. Below you will find resources from two states, California and Oklahoma, whose voters have approved ballot measures that reclassified certain offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. While the details of each measure are distinct, they can provide useful background for voters faced with Issue 1.
In 2014, voters in California approved Proposition 47, which "reduces penalties for certain offenders convicted of nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes. The measure also allows certain offenders who have been previously convicted of such crimes to apply for reduced sentences. In addition, the measure requires any state savings that result from the measure be spent to support truancy (unexcused absences) prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and victim services.” (Summary from California SOS Official Voter Information Guide)
Proposition 47 - text of ballot measure (starts on pg. 70)
Efforts to amend Proposition 47:
In the 2015 legislative session, a number of changes to Proposition 47 were proposed, but the bills either died in committee, were vetoed by the governor, or did not amend the specific provisions added by Proposition 47 and therefore did not have to go before the voters. In November 2017 an initiative entitled the “Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018” was filed with the Attorney General. This initiative would change provisions of Proposition 47 and would go on the November 2020 ballot. The measure would, among other things, “A. [r]eform the parole system so violent felons are not released early from prison, strengthen oversight of post-release community supervision and tighten penalties for violations of terms of post-release community supervision; B. Reform theft laws to restore accountability for serial thieves and organized theft rings; and C. Expand DNA collection from persons convicted of drug, theft and domestic violence related crimes to help solve violent crimes and exonerate the innocent.” Initiative No. 17-0044, Amendment No. 1, Sec. 2
In November 2016, voters in the state of Oklahoma approved State Question 780 and State Question 781. State Question 780 changed some non-violent drug- and theft-related crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, thus reducing the number and duration of state prison sentences for those crimes. State Question 781 was designed to redistribute the money saved by the reduced prison costs to counties to fund rehabilitation of criminals. State Questions 780 and 781 were connected, with State Question 781 being dependent on the passage of State Question 780.
Oklahoma State Question 780 - text of the proposed initiative
Oklahoma State Question 780 - summary from Ballotpedia
Oklahoma State Question 781 - text of the proposed initiative
Oklahoma State Question 781 - summary from Ballotpedia
Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act (SQ 781) FY 2018 Calculations - report by OK Office of Management and Enterprise Services
Efforts to amend State Questions 780 and 781:
In March 2017, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a bill that would roll back some of the amendments by once again making it a felony to possess any amount of drugs within 1,000 feet of school property. The Senate version was pulled from committee consideration in April 2017.