OPINION: Ohio Education Association says Issue 1 helps reduce prison costs

FILE - In this Nov. 18, 2016, file photo. the American flag flies in front of the U.S. Capitol dome at sunset on Capitol Hill in Washington. The end of the 2016 presidential election is at hand. A joint session of Congress is set to count the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2017, a traditional ending to a most unconventional presidential election. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)
Caption
FILE - In this Nov. 18, 2016, file photo. the American flag flies in front of the U.S. Capitol dome at sunset on Capitol Hill in Washington. The end of the 2016 presidential election is at hand. A joint session of Congress is set to count the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2017, a traditional ending to a most unconventional presidential election. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)

EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE. On Nov. 6, Ohio voters will get the chance to weigh in on Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that, if passed, would make major changes to the state's drug laws and how they're enforced.

The issue has become hotly debated – many judges, prosecutors and law enforcement leaders are against it, arguing that it will make it harder to fight drug crime; the issue is supported by numerous civil-liberties and minority groups that argue it's a long-overdue fix to antiquated laws.

Here is a sampling of some of the pro and con arguments swirling around the issue.

The Dayton Daily News is committed to presenting all sides of important issues. To see opinion commentary supporting Issue 1, click here. To see opinion commentary against Issue 1, click here

THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE FROM THE OHIO EDUCATION ASSOCIATION.

The Neighborhood Safety and Drug Treatment Amendment, Issue 1, would not change laws or funding for incarcerating people convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape, and child molestation. A broad, bipartisan coalition of community, faith, law enforcement, and business groups has formed to support this measure and help Ohio improve safety and reduce prison costs.

» TRENDING: What is State Issue 1 on the Ohio ballot this fall?

It’s time to stop wasting prison space on people convicted of nonviolent crimes and people that are no longer a threat to public safety. Ohio needs a balanced approach to public safety that includes treatment, rehabilitation and accountability.

A broad, bipartisan coalition of community, faith, law enforcement, and business groups has formed to support this measure and help Ohio improve safety and reduce prison costs.

The Neighborhood Safety and Drug Treatment Amendment reduces the number of people in state prison for low-level, nonviolent crimes and puts the money to better use by directing future savings to drug treatment and victim services. It does not change laws or funding for incarcerating people convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape, and child molestation.

WHAT THE CANDIDATES SAY: Governor candidates DeWine, Cordray debate Issue 1

Specifically, the amendment:

— Changes low-level nonviolent simple drug possession crimes from felonies to misdemeanors so people convicted of these crimes are held accountable locally instead of in state prison.

— Requires graduated responses, like community service, when people on probation violate minor probation requirements, like missing a meeting with their probation officer, instead of sending these people to prison.

— Authorizes the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to provide earned time credit incentives to people in prison to rehabilitate themselves to reduce repeat offending.

— Directs all prison cost savings generated from this Amendment — estimated to be at least tens of millions of dollars annually — to local drug treatment programs, especially for people suffering from addiction and cycling in and out of the justice system, and trauma recovery programs for victims of crime.

OPINION CONTENT ON ISSUE 1: