Today, state Senator Sean J. O’Brien (D-Bazetta) commented on the passage of Senate Bill 201, which he sponsored jointly with state Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) and which was part of the “Reagan Tokes Act”. The legislation aims to improve the rehabilitation of criminal offenders through the use of indefinite sentences.
“The murder of Reagan Tokes is a tragedy that could have been prevented had we had the proper procedures in place prior to the offender’s release from prison,” said Sen. O’Brien. “As a former assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, I place great importance on ensuring that offenders do not offend again once they are released – as it happened in the case of Reagan Tokes – so I was happy to join Sen. Bacon in sponsoring these important pieces of legislation.”
Ms. Tokes was abducted, assaulted and murdered in Columbus on February 8, 2017. The perpetrator had recently been released on parole from prison and was supposedly being monitored via a GPS-equipped ankle bracelet. Questions were raised as to whether he was sufficiently rehabilitated to re-enter society when it was revealed that while serving his previous six-year sentence for armed robbery and rape, he had committed over 50 behavioral infractions and had been transferred to five different institutions.
“What SB 201 does is add indefinite sentences to first- and second-degree felonies, incentivizing good behavior in prison and decreasing the chances that violent criminals are released before their total rehabilitation,” said O’Brien. “A second companion bill that I sponsored with Sen. Bacon to reform GPS monitoring procedures and post-release controls, SB 202, appears unlikely to pass this General Assembly, but I look forward to continuing my work on this important criminal justice issue in January.”
SB 202, which deals with post-release control procedures in Ohio, has yet to pass out of Senate committee. SB 201 will now move to the Governor’s desk for his signature into law. Additional information about SB 201, including the full text of the bill, can be found here.