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Crime Survivors Want Lawmakers To Hear Their Voices When Making Justice System Changes

Crime survivors gather in the Statehouse Rotunda after telling their stories to state lawmakers. An exhibit featuring crime survivors' stories is set up in the space.
Karen Kasler
/
Crime survivors gather in the Statehouse Rotunda after telling their stories to state lawmakers. An exhibit featuring crime survivors' stories is set up in the space.

Hundreds of crime survivors came to the Statehouse to tell their stories to lawmakers, who are considering changes to bail, sentencing laws and other elements of the criminal justice system.

Crime survivors say they support some of the ideas, such as reclassifying minor drug possession felonies to misdemeanors and offering addiction treatment instead of prison time.

But they also hope lawmakers will consider removing what they call barriers that they say get in the way of establishing stability after their lives are torn apart by crime. India Brown of Cleveland said she experienced one of those when the father of her two children was murdered in 2007.

“My children’s father had a felony minor drug conviction, which completely eliminated my children from getting victims of crime compensation support," Brown said.

Crime survivors and their advocates say they’re pleased the attorney general’s office has set up eight trauma recovery centers around Ohio, but they say the state must commit to funding them.

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