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Government & Politics

Issue 1 Supporter Disputes Chief Justice's Drug Court Concerns

photo of Stephen JohnsonGrove
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
JohnsonGrove said the issue will reduce prison costs, which will then allow funds to go to treatment and drug courts.

The only statewide issue on the fall ballot would reduce criminal sentencing for drug offenses. While Ohio’s chief justice believes Issue 1 would doom local drug courts, supporters are contradicting that.

Stephen Johnson Grove, a criminal justice reform advocate, says Issue 1 would steer non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor argues that would dismantle drug courts which already exchange prison for treatment. But Johnson Grove says there’s still a carrot and stick system.

“What we take away is the sledgehammer which is prison, but we still keep in the judges hand other kinds of tools such as probation. And probation, one should understand in Ohio, includes a whole menu of options including mandatory treatment,” he said.

Johnson Grove says the measure would reduce prison costs every year, directing that money into treatment options and drug courts.