For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 21, 2021
Contact on behalf of Alliance for Safety and Justice: [email protected]
OHIO HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES SB 36, REDUCING BARRIERS TO VICTIM COMPENSATION AND IMPROVING PUBLIC SAFETY
SB 36 was Approved after Bipartisan Passage in the Senate Earlier This Year
COLUMBUS – In a victory for Ohio crime survivors and their families, the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee voted to approve SB 36 – critical reforms that will reduce barriers to victim compensation and improve safety throughout the state. The bill previously passed the Ohio Senate in a bipartisan vote in March 2021. SB 36 is now headed for a floor vote in the coming weeks. The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) and its Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice network in Ohio began advocating for this legislation more than two years ago, and praised House members for advancing the legislation on behalf of crime victims.
“For many crime victims, unaddressed trauma can make the road to recovery nearly impossible, but SB 36 expands access to programs that make a life changing difference,” said Shakyra Diaz, Ohio State Director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Crime victims and their families deserve the opportunity to get their lives back on track and heal from a violent crime. With this bill, we can ensure survivors have the support they need to get help and prevent future victimization. We thank the Criminal Justice Committee for standing with victims. We urge members of the House to take urgent action to make Ohio safer.”
The bill expands victim compensation coverage for immediate family members of certain crime victims, and removes restrictions based on an old felony conviction – from as far back as 10 years ago – unrelated to a person or their family member’s victimization. The bill also eliminates barriers to victims based on a mere allegation that they may have committed a crime in the past – regardless of if they were ever convicted. In addition, family members of victims who are killed cannot be denied compensation based on allegations regarding the victim’s actions. Family members who lose a loved one to a tragic act of violence are always victims themselves, and must be able to bury their loved ones with dignity and have the resources they need to heal. SB 36 ensures that more crime victims receive the financial and emotional support needed to address trauma as a result of a crime, allowing for families and communities to heal and stop cycles of violence.
SB 36 also addresses an issue that has allowed crime victims with drugs in their system to be denied support, without requiring any understanding of the circumstances. The Dayton Daily News has reported multiple instances where a victim of crime was denied assistance because they had a controlled substance in their system at the time of their victimization, despite not being charged with any crime. It was reported that one woman shot in the Oregon District shooting was denied support after methamphetamines were found in her blood at the hospital, even though she indicated having an Adderall prescription.
The Alliance for Safety and Justice has been advocating for reforms to Ohio’s victim compensation program since August 2018. ASJ has also worked alongside state leaders to establish trauma recovery centers that provide wraparound services to victims of violent crime. SB 36 – passed with bipartisan support – is sponsored by Chair Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, and supported by former Senator Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, who has sponsored previous versions of this legislation. These efforts reaffirm Ohio’s reputation as a national leader in helping underserved crime survivors better access recovery support.
The full text of the bill can be viewed here.
ABOUT THE ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It partners with leaders to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education, and advocacy. It also brings together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice – its national network of over 42,000 crime survivors, with thousands of members in Ohio. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.