Columbus – Today, Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) expressed his frustrations with the Ohio Office of Budget and Management’s fiscal analysis of Issue 1.
“To make an informed decision about Issue 1, voters need to know the truth,” Senator Thomas said. “Unfortunately, OBM has managed to obscure the truth by producing a flawed analysis that does not accurately account for the savings created by the decrease in prison population.”
An analysis by Policy Matters Ohio estimated that Issue 1 will save Ohioans $136 million per year. Issue 1 creates these savings by treating individuals’ addiction problems rather than incarcerating them, releasing individuals from prison for rehabilitation, and not sending individuals to prison for minor probation violations.
Retired Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections director Gary Mohr recently told the Columbus Dispatch that “truly non-violent addictive individuals can be served twice as effectively in local communities and at a third of the cost.” Last year, 14.7 percent or 2,738 people were imprisoned for drug possession --more than any other offense.
“In addition to Issue 1 being the fiscally responsible choice, it is also the moral choice,” said Senator Thomas. “The current status quo of shipping addicted individuals to prison is ineffective and cruel. These people return to their communities still addicted to drugs and barred from job opportunities because of a felony. By creating more treatment and rehabilitation programs, Issue 1 will help thousands of Ohioans live more fulfilling lives.”