Safe and Healthy Communities
CPP works on a range of racial and economic justice issues that promote safe and healthy communities.
After a year and a half of organizing led by People's Justice Project, faith leaders and other community groups calling for police accountability and investments in real community safety initiatives, Mayor Andrew Ginther announced a new comprehensive safety strategy. The plan includes many of the demands we've been calling for since Henry Green, Tyre King and Jaron Thomas were killed in 2016 by Columbus Police. We are pushing to make sure that the new programs reach the people who need it most and that new initiatives are implemented in a way that is accountable to the community.
As a part of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative we are committed to reforming our criminal justice system to promote safety and healing. We believe that no one should be incarcerated just because they can't afford bail, and that people struggling with addiction should be sent to treatment, not prison. We believe that our state should invest in local treatment and diversion programs that actually promote safety and rehabilitation.
The Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation amendment is designed to increase public safety while decreasing incarceration. This proposed constitutional amendment will be put before Ohio voters in November 2018. This amendment will do four things:
Cut-off the addiction-to-prison pipeline: The amendment would reclassify from felony to misdemeanor any crime for obtaining, possessing, or using a drug or drug paraphernalia. All current drug trafficking felonies would remain felonies. The amendment would allow the reclassification even for past offenses, subject to judicial discretion. That means people currently in prison for possession-only offenses could be released; people in the community with old drug-possession felonies could avoid job barriers created by those former felonies.
Cut-off the probation-to-prison pipeline: Twenty-three percent of people coming to Ohio’s prison each year (about 4,700 annually) are for probation violations that are not new felonies. The amendment would prohibit prison sentences for probation rule infractions that are not new criminal offenses. Probationers who violate their supervision rules would still be held accountable, but more effectively and affordably through appropriate local sanctions.
Following the research-backed best practices from across America, our amendment encourages probation departments to use small rewards as well as small punishments to keep probationers on the straight and narrow. Research suggests that the rewards are, in fact, the more effective side of that two-sided coin. Carrot and stick, yes; but more carrot, less stick.
Reward personal rehabilitation in prison: Data and personal stories demonstrate that safety and rehabilitation improve when people earn days off of their prison terms for participat-ing in quality programming. The amendment would expand the ability of current inmates to earn these modest sentence reductions.
Transformative investments in community health: The first three reforms will safely and significantly shrink the prison population. The amendment will then redirect the resultant savings into treatment and support programs for youths and adults — thus further improving safety and decreasing our state’s misuse of prisons to solve social ills.