Eklund Announces Comprehensive Changes to Ohio's Criminal Justice System
July 2, 2018
COLUMBUS - State Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) today applauded the final passage of his bipartisan legislation making a number of comprehensive improvements to Ohio's criminal justice system.
The proposed bill will allow offenders to have a fair shot at rehabilitation without being subjected to unfair penalties. The legislation gives judges more discretion, bolsters Intervention in Lieu of Conviction programs, makes changes to the presumptive return to prison for technical parole violations and expands the eligibility for conviction record sealing.
“With Substitute Senate Bill 66 Ohio takes significant, purposeful steps forward in our efforts to promote the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into society,” said Senator John Eklund, one of the Bill’s primary sponsors. “Many offenders clearly need treatment more than they need prison, and can be more effectively punished and rehabilitated in alternative corrections facilities,” he continued. “By expanding the availability of alternatives to prison, promoting treatment for those who need it, and broadening opportunities for ex-offenders to have their records sealed, this bill will reduce costs and recidivism, and enhance the role our criminal justice system plays in keeping us safe while ensuring a just society.”
The legislation is aimed at reducing recidivism and prison time for low-level, non-violent, non-sex offenders, who make up the fastest growing portion of the state's prison population due to the drug epidemic. To accomplish this, the bill would:
- Add a rehabilitative tone to the purposes of felony sentencing to provide offenders with a renewed opportunity to find gainful employment after serving a prison sentence;
- Expand eligibility for intervention in lieu of conviction for individuals who committed criminal acts, but were addicted to drugs or alcohol;
- Grant judges discretion to use treatment rather than jail if an offender has a relapse;
- and Reduce the maximum amount of time an offender can be sent to prison for a post-release control sanction from 9 months to 90 days.
Senate Bill 66 will now go to the Governor's desk for his signature.