Letter: Time for change; Yes to Issue 1

Ohio is now rated 13th highest state for incarceration. The No. 1 offense is drug possession. Five year recidivism for drug possession is 76.6 percent! Ohio has the seventh fastest growing prison population since 2005. Seventy nine percent of current prisoners suffer from either drug addiction or mental illness, and 40 peercent from both. Less than 1 percent receive detox treatment, and less than 10 percent receive residential treatment.

Ohio prisons treat approximately 4,500 prisoners. … far fewer than the 30,000 who need it.

Very often judges put people in prison, thinking time away from drugs is treatment. Prisons are infested with illegal drugs. Most often there are underlying problems such as depression and anxiety. Judges believes Issue 1 would take away the discretion of Ohio judges?

Anyone who has had any involvement in the criminal system knows it’s the prosecutor who really decides the punishment by negotiating the level of the felony. The judge’s hands are then tied by mandatory minimums. Billion dollar companies benefit from the high numbers of inmates: Aramark, providing maggot infested food, Globel Tel Link, exorbitant phone rates, Access Secure Pak, Union Supply, food, (because grown men need more than 1,500 calories a day), and Jpay for communication.

Former incarceration sets felons apart. Some employers may hire felons after the five-year mark. What happens until then? You don’t like the idea of Issue 1? Come up with something better. The present system is draconian and doesn’t work.

Cathy Stanford, Lima

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