Council President Applauds State Senate Prioritizing Criminal Justice Reform
City Council President Shannon Hardin Urges Action on Justice and Drug Policy
[COLUMBUS – OH] Earlier today, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof announced
their General Assembly priorities for 2019, which includes a landmark criminal
justice reform bill.
“We need to stop locking folks up for addiction. It is a moral
imperative that we reduce penalties for non-violent drug use, ensure those
currently incarcerated can restart their lives, and increase funding for drug
treatment and local judicial systems,” said Council President Shannon Hardin.
“I want to thank Senate President Obhof, his Senate colleagues, particularly
Senators John Eklund and Vernon Sykes, as well as City Attorney Zach Klein and
County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien for these steps toward criminal justice reform.”
Senate President Obhof stood alongside his leadership team on
Tuesday, February 12, to outline their legislative agenda for 2019.
“We’re going to work to provide second chances for Ohioans
struggling with drug addiction. Our focus is best spent on their treatment and
recovery. I appreciate the leadership of both Republicans and Democrats working
to change the approach of our criminal justice system,” said Obhof during the
State-level conversations around criminal justice reform
intensified when grassroots advocates put Issue 1 on the November 2018 ballot.
While Issue 1 was defeated statewide, it passed in Franklin County. Since 2018,
City Attorney Zach Klein and County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien have advocated at
the Statehouse for lower penalties for non-violent drug offenses and improved
funding for treatment.
“For too long we’ve invested in prisons and not people,”
continued Council President Hardin. “It’s time we fix this broken system that
disproportionately harms people of color, especially young black men.”
Today's announcement comes as Columbus City Council is exploring
elements of a marijuana justice reform package. Council President Hardin
expects to hold hearings within the next month on new proposals.