Senate Bill 3 Passes Senate with Backing of State’s Leading Public Safety Groups

Bipartisan Legislation Will Reduce Prison Overcrowding, Make Communities Safer by Helping People With Addiction Get Treatment

COLUMBUS – The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) applauded the Ohio Senate for passing Senate Bill 3 today. The bipartisan legislation, which ASJ has advocated for over the past year-and-a-half, is now headed to the Ohio House of Representatives.

“Senate Bill 3 is critical for Ohio to better address addiction, improve public safety and reduce prison overcrowding,” said Shakyra Diaz, Ohio State Director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Needlessly giving people felony convictions for minor drug possession when they have an addiction is proven by research to be counterproductive for their recovery and public safety. It leads to wasteful prison spending, drains our economy by senselessly excluding people from the workforce due to a felony conviction, and undermines people’s recovery from addiction. Ohio Senate leaders have thoughtfully advanced this smart step forward for Ohio that can save lives, improve public health, and make our state safer.”

The non-partisan Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s analysis of Senate Bill 3 indicated it will address overcrowding by sending up to 2,700 fewer people to prison each year, and save the state’s taxpayers up to an estimated $75 million annually. Ohio is among the top states in the nation experiencing the worst effects of the addiction crisis. The state is also facing budget deficits that have led to cuts to schools and health care, while unnecessarily overcrowded prisons make Ohio the epicenter of the two largest COVID outbreaks in the nation. Senate Bill 3 can end the failed criminal justice-focused approach to addiction, while prioritizing the health and safety of communities and the smart use of taxpayer dollars.

The Alliance for Safety and Justice has been advocating for Senate Bill 3 since December 2018. ASJ has released a series of reports, briefs and fact sheets related to the research that supports the policies in Senate Bill 3. The bill has received support from a diverse cross-section of public safety organizations in addition to Alliance for Safety and Justice that includes Americans for Prosperity–Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Americans for Tax Reform, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Justice Action Network, Ohio Justice & Policy Center, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Transformation Fund, Policy Matters Ohio, Judge Larry A. Jones Sr., Judge Lauren C. Moore, former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan, and many others.

Alliance for Safety and Justice, Americans for Prosperity & The Buckeye Institute Report 
Fact Sheet on Urban Institute Study of Reclassification of Low-Level Drug Possession
Fact Sheet on Pew Study on the Impact of Incarceration on Drug Abuse
Fact Sheet on Lack of Relationship between Felonies/Incarceration & Overdose Deaths
Overview of Senate Bill 3 & House Bill 1

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:
Dennis Willard
[email protected]