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Study Shows Passing Criminal Sentencing Bill Would Keep Thousands Of Ohioans Healthier

Piet van Lier, Policy Matters Ohio
Jo Ingles
Piet van Lier, Policy Matters Ohio

Two bills under consideration in the Ohio Legislature would change sentencing for low-level drug crimes to intervention over incarceration. A new studyfrom a liberal leaning think tank shows passing those bills would improve the health of many Ohioans – especially now.

Policy Matters Ohio’s Piet Van Lier says strict drug sentencing has created overcrowding in prisons.

“It really makes prisons and jails petri dishes for transmission of disease," Van Lier says.

Van Lier notes 86 inmates and five prison staffers have died from COVID-19. He says Black Ohioans represent 13% of Ohio’s total population yet make up 47% of the those in prison.

The group hopes lawmakers will use this information to pass one of the plans soon. Both are in a Senate committee – one since last fall, the other for well over a year.

Contact Jo Ingles at