Gov. Kasich Signs Bill to Help Stop the Cycle of Crime in Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2017
CONTACT: Naty Uhlmann, naty@safeandjust.org

Gov. Kasich Signs Bill to Help Stop the Cycle of Crime in Ohio
New law focuses on rehabilitation over punishment

The bipartisan legislation known as SB66 was signed into law by Governor Kasich this summer and represents a balanced approach to public safety.

This new law allows law enforcement and incarceration resources to be more focused on serious crime, while also allocating important resources to prevention and rehabilitation, said Robert Rooks, Vice President, Alliance for Safety and Justice.

Key provisions of the law take important steps to focus on rehabilitation including enhancing judicial discretion, increasing diversion opportunities and expanding community-based alternative supervision in lieu of incarceration. These approaches have been proven to help stop the cycle of crime through rehabilitation, graduated sanctions and incarceration when appropriate.

“This new law will make Ohio safer and aligns with the desire of the public and crime survivors to prioritize rehabilitation and treatment over punishment,” said Shakyra Diaz, Managing Director, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.

Making rehabilitation a key component of the criminal justice system is consistent with the desires of crime victims. The Alliance for Safety and Justice conducted the nation’s first survey of crime victim’s views in the country. Crime survivors indicated that they prefer the criminal justice system focus more on rehabilitation than punishment by a margin of 2 to 1. By a margin of 3 to 1 crime victims shared the belief that time in prison make people more likely to commit another crime rather than less likely.

Support for this legislation was widespread. The Alliance for Safety and Justice worked with state leaders from both sides of the political aisle and important stakeholders in Ohio including crime survivors, business leaders and law enforcement.

“We need to give more judges the ability to divert low level offenders away from prison. My life was changed because a judge saw potential in me. Fortunately, for me a judge gave me probation instead of 10 years in prison. On probation I was mentored by a chef and realized my calling to be in the kitchen. I turned my life around because I was given a lifeline by a judge and my community. As a result I
created EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute and have become a successful entrepreneur that gives back to his community, instead of a hardened criminal,” said Brandon E. Chrostowski, a chef, restaurateur and businessman in Cleveland.

“This new law recognizes that treating individuals at the local level is more impactful and costs less than state prison. Importantly, passing this legislation will increase opportunities for the kind of women I’ve seen so often in prison – low-level, drug addicted – to get the treatment they need to get out of a cycle of crime and change their lives. This bill sends the powerful message that criminal justice in Ohio is not just about punishment, it is also about rehabilitation,” said Sonia Matis, crime survivor and a volunteer in women’s prisons and a rape crisis center.

Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is a flagship project of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. We partner with state leaders, advocates and crime survivors to advance policies to replace prison waste with new safety priorities that will help the communities most harmed by crime and violence. For more information visit https://www.allianceforsafetyandjustice.org/ or follow us on twitter @SafeandJustUSA

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