Alliance for Safety and Justice Releases Video Highlighting Broad Support for Senate Bill 3’s Reforms to Better Address Addiction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Feb.5, 2020

Video Highlights Broad Support for Senate Bill 3’s Reforms to Better Address Addiction

COLUMBUS – The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) released a new video of key Ohio stakeholders from the state legislature, law enforcement, and advocacy and policy organizations urging support for the reforms in Senate Bill 3. The video features Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, Senate Bill 3 sponsor Sen. John Eklund, Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee Chair George Lang, Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan, The Buckeye Institute President Robert Alt, and ASJ’s Ohio State Director, Shakyra Diaz. The video highlights how Senate Bill 3 would enact proven responses to addiction that prioritize treatment over felony convictions, facilitating successful recovery for Ohioans and an end to the cycle of addiction and crime.

Watch the video here.

“Ohio has one of the highest overdose death rates of any state in the nation and still faces negative consequences from years of harmful criminal justice responses to addiction,” said Shakyra Diaz, Ohio State Director of the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Senate Bill 3 consists of proven solutions that stakeholders from across the state are uniting behind to better address addiction and make Ohio communities healthier and safer.”

In the video, Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina says, “We are one of the highest states in the nation for overdose deaths… I think it’s important that people who are charged with low-level drug possession…be given the opportunity to turn their lives around.”

State Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Township and Chairman of the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee, states in the video: “The current approach isn’t working, it’s been broken for a long time. We have people suffering needlessly because rather than trying to help those that are truly addicted, we end up incarcerating them and we’re not solving problems. But one of the things I’m really excited about Senate Bill 3 is a bipartisan effort.

“We need policies that promote getting people the treatment they need and a criminal justice system that reflects our priorities,” said Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan. “When someone has an addiction problem, we should eliminate barriers standing in the way of their recovery and success, both in our sentencing and after they have served their time.”

“Ohio is one of the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis, and the response to people suffering from addiction has far too often been harsh prison sentences and felony convictions, which have proven to be both expensive and ineffective,” said Robert Alt, president, and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute. “Groups from across the political spectrum—ranging from The Buckeye Institute to Alliance for Safety and Justice, Justice Action Network, ACLU of Ohio, and Americans for Prosperity—have come together to support the common-sense reforms in Senate Bill 3 that reduce costs, save lives, and offer something direly needed by those trying to turn their lives around: hope.”

“Our criminal justice system has great potential for making positive impacts on individuals and society. Senate Bill 3 will unleash that potential on the scourge of drug abuse and its destructive effects,” said state Sen. John Eklund, R-Munson Township, the bill’s sponsor.

Senate Bill 3 changes how Ohio’s justice system responds to addiction and minor drug possession to an approach that is backed by evidence and has proven more effective in other states. It reclassifies low-level drug possession to a misdemeanor so Ohioans can get treatment in communities and do not have their recovery undermined by the immense barriers associated with a felony conviction.

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The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. We partner with leaders and advocates to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education, and advocacy. We also bring together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence.

 

For more information:
Shakyra Diaz
shakyra@safeandjust.org