New Survey: Ohioans Support Criminal Justice Reform

June 22, 2017
CONTACT: Kristin Ford, [email protected], 202.570.6441

New Survey: Ohioans Support Criminal Justice Reform

COLUMBUS – Key findings from a recent public opinion survey of representative Ohio voters were released today showing voters’ strong support for criminal justice reforms that reduce the number of people in state prison for low-level offenses.

Commissioned by Alliance for Safety and Justice, a national criminal justice reform organization that works with crime survivors, the survey was conducted by public opinion research firm, Baselice and Associates in March 2017.   

The survey shows that voters in Ohio, across demographics including Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters, overwhelmingly support requiring people with short-term sentences (18 months or less) to complete those sentences in a local jail, halfway housing, or supervised probation instead of state prison.  Eighty percent of voters support local options in lieu of state prison for these short-term sentences, with 72% of GOP voters, 77% of Independent voters, and 89% of Democratic voters expressing support.

Similarly, 76% of Ohioans support requiring judges to sentence individuals who violate technical terms of their probation to a range of sanctions but prohibit prison returns for probation violations except in exceptional circumstances, with 73% of Republican voters, 71% of Independent voters, and 83% of Democratic voters surveyed saying they favor such a requirement.

“Ohio voters want to rebalance our criminal justice system, and to invest in proven strategies to break the cycle of crime rather than wasteful prison spending,” said Lenore Anderson, President of the Alliance for Safety and Justice.  “These survey results demonstrate how widespread support is for common-sense reforms, across partisan affiliation.”

The polling memo is available online here.

These results are from an Ohio statewide survey conducted among N=801 registered voters on March 23-28, 2017 by national public opinion research firm Baselice & Associates.  The margin of error to these results is +/- 3.5% at the .95 confidence level.   Interviews were conducted 55% by landline phone and 45% by cell phone. The results were slightly weighted to reflect the actual regional partisanship, race/ethnicity and ages of the Ohio electorate.  Results are rounded to the nearest whole percent.