Opponents are fighting back against a statewide ballot measure that would reduce the penalties for drug offenders. Under Issue 1, minor drug-related offenses would not require prison time, prioritizing treatment instead. Critics say that sets a dangerous precedent.
Paul Pfeifer, a former Ohio Supreme Court justice, is calling Issue 1 a “horrible idea.” He claims it will weaken law enforcement and takes a bargaining chip away from judges and prosecutors.
“If you take away the threat that an addict may have to face some jail or prison time, you just can’t get them to go to treatment. They just will not do it,” says Pfeifer who goes on to say most Ohio judges prefer treatment over prison time but it’s not something that can be forced on people with a substance abuse disorder.
Supporters of Issue 1 say passage will allow the state to take money it is now spending for incarceration to fund drug treatment and crime victim programs.