Issue 1: To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing and Using Illegal Drugs

On Nov. 6, 2018, Ohio voters rejected Issue 1 by a margin of about 63 percent to 37 percent. Although the amendment will not be added to the Ohio Constitution, state policymakers have indicated that they plan to address the issue of addiction treatment and criminal sentencing for drug possession in the near future. HPIO will keep this resource page available for future reference as those deliberations continue.

Also referred to as “The Ohio Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment.”

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) is a nonprofit organization that partners with policymakers and other stakeholders engaged in the policymaking process to provide the independent and nonpartisan analysis needed to create evidence-informed state health policy. Since voters are policymakers in the case of a ballot initiative, HPIO created this resource page to make information on state Issue 1 easily accessible. The links to analyses and references contained on this page are for educational purposes only and do not reflect the views of HPIO, including HPIO staff, board members and funders.

Background

On Nov. 6, 2018, Ohioans will vote on Issue 1 – a ballot initiative that would create a constitutional amendment to implement criminal justice reforms and redirect funding currently used in the criminal justice system to community addiction treatment. The amendment, if passed by Ohio voters, would add language to the Ohio Constitution that would:

  1. Reclassify certain non-serious, non-violent drug possession felonies as misdemeanors
  2. Prohibit courts from ordering persons on felony probation to be sent to prison for non-criminal probation violations
  3. Expand Ohio’s earned-credit program to reduce sentences for inmates participating in drug treatment, work or educational programs
  4. Require the state to spend the prison-cost savings resulting from the reforms described above on drug treatment, trauma recovery for crime victims and other criminal justice system programs

Issue 1 would not adjust penalties for offenses related to drug trafficking, sale or distribution. More detail on each of the four reforms is provided in the sections below.

 Click here for full certified ballot language

 Click here for full constitutional amendment text

For more information about addiction prevention, treatment and recovery in Ohio, see the Ohio addiction policy inventory and scorecard: Prevention, treatment and recovery from the HPIO Addiction Evidence Project.

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Ballot initiative process

Issue 1 is a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution as a result of a citizen-initiated petition. This means that the constitutional amendment was proposed by Ohio citizens and will be submitted directly to Ohio voters who can vote to enact the amendment. This process does not require any action from the Ohio state legislature (i.e., General Assembly).

Steps for a citizen-initiated petition to appear on the ballot

  • A group or interested party submits a petition to amend the Constitution to the Ohio Attorney General for approval. Once approved, the group may begin collecting voter signatures.
    • Petitioners are required to submit signatures from registered Ohio voters equal to 10 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. For November 2018 ballot issues, groups sponsoring initiative proposals were required to gather 305,591 unique, valid signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot.
    • Petitioners must also submit signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties, signatures must equal 5 percent of the total votes cast in the most recent election for governor.
  • Signatures are submitted to county boards of elections for verification to ensure they are from registered voters who live at the given address.
  • If the party has gathered enough valid signatures by the deadline (105 days before the election, 65 days for supplemental signatures if initial signatures are insufficient), the amendment (or “issue”) will appear on the ballot during the general election.
  • Summary language of the issue to appear on the ballot is decided by the Ohio Ballot Board. Titles of ballot issues are determined by the Ohio Secretary of State.

For more details about the ballot initiative process, see the Ohio Secretary of State website.

Safe and Healthy Ohio

The effort to get Issue 1 on the ballot was led by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and a group of partner organizations under the auspices of the Safe and Healthy Ohio campaign. The campaign partners include:

Scope of the problem

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The state of Ohio is facing an addiction crisis. Ohio’s drug overdose death rate is one of the highest in the country and has climbed steadily from 2000 to 2017, led by increases in deaths from heroin and fentanyl. Overdose deaths are the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the impact of addiction on Ohioans and their communities. For every person who experiences an overdose, many more are struggling with substance use disorder. Other downstream effects of addiction include increased rates of Hepatitis C and HIV, adverse childhood experiences and crime.

Drug offenses are a common reason for arrests and sanctions. In June 2018, over 45 percent of prison inmates in the U.S. were serving sentences for drug offenses, and there were 1.5 million drug possession arrests in 2015. In Ohio, the January 2018 census of the prison population found that a drug offense was the most serious conviction for 7,370, or 15 percent, of prison inmates. Data is not currently published on the total number of prison inmates who were convicted of drug offenses.

In addition, substance use disorder is common among inmates. From 2007-2009, 58 percent of state prison inmates and 63 percent of sentenced jail inmates in the U.S. met the criteria for drug use or dependence.

Addiction treatment capacity

Notably, behavioral health treatment capacity is a challenge. Although comprehensive data is lacking, many stakeholders report a need for additional behavioral health system capacity in Ohio, including more providers of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), evidence-based psychosocial treatment and recovery services. For example, Ohio’s ratio of buprenorphine providers to overdose deaths is the third lowest in the nation (see figure 1), indicating less behavioral health system capacity relative to demand. (Buprenorphine is one form of MAT. For more information, see HPIO’s Addiction policy inventory and scorecard on prevention, treatment and recovery.) Additionally, a 2017 study from the Ohio State University estimated that Ohio’s current MAT capacity can serve only 10 to 40 percent of those in need.

Figure 1. Ratio of certified buprenorphine providers to opioid overdose deaths, by state, 2016

Source:  Avalere analysis of SAMHSA Opioid Treatment Program Directory and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WONDER, 2016

Incarceration spending

State spending on prisons makes up a significant portion of the biennial budget. In July 2018, the state of Ohio was spending an average of $26,365 per inmate per year (see figure 2). This includes spending on food, education, recreation and health care for inmates, including specialized health care for those with significant physical and behavioral health concerns, as well as spending on program and administrative staff, buildings and grounds maintenance and security measures.

Figure 2. Ohio prison expenditures, July 2018

 

 

 

 

Source: July 2018 Fact Sheet, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Addiction treatment spending

Addiction treatment is another large expense for state governments. Among state agencies, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) had the largest share of state spending on addiction treatment services. In SFY 2017, ODM spent $762,948,490 to provide healthcare services for Ohioans with drug addiction/behavioral health issues. This amount includes spending on addiction treatment, community mental health services, community psychiatric supportive treatment, behavioral health counseling/therapy, mental health assessment services, crisis intervention, pharmacologic management services and emergency services/coverage of naloxone.

According a report by the Center for Community Solutions and the Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition, Ohio Medicaid cannot be billed for behavioral health services delivered to individuals who are incarcerated, unless they have been removed from jail or prison and are receiving inpatient treatment in a clinical care setting. Medicaid may be billed for treatment services in Community Based Correctional Facilities, but only if eligible individuals have specific freedoms, including working outside the facility, using community resources at will and accessing health care treatment.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) spent $102,751,418 on addiction treatment and recovery in state fiscal year (SFY) 2017. (Information received directly from OhioMHAS.)

Criminal justice reforms

Drug crime reclassification

  1. Reclassify certain non-serious, non-violent drug possession felonies as misdemeanors
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People incarcerated in Ohio are housed in either jails or prisons. Jails are typically run by counties and are meant to hold people who are awaiting trial or who have committed low-level offenses (i.e., misdemeanors). Prisons, on the other hand, are run by the state or federal government. People who are sentenced to prison have committed more serious offenses (i.e., felonies) and will often serve longer sentences than those in jail. People convicted of crimes can also be sentenced to community corrections, outside of a jail or prison setting. Community corrections includes halfway houses, permanent supportive housing, probation, community work service and addiction treatment programs, among others.

Under Ohio law, drug crimes are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Felony convictions may come with a prison sentence and/or fines ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 (see figure 3). Misdemeanors are more minor offenses, with convictions resulting in jail time and/or fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 (see figure 4). People convicted of both felonies and misdemeanors may be sentenced to community corrections in lieu of prison or jail. Currently under Ohio law, possession of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia is either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the type of drug and the amount possessed. This means that a conviction for drug possession in Ohio can lead to time in prison, jail, community corrections and/or fines.

Figure 3. Sentences and fines for felonies in Ohio, by degree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Ohio Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences, Criminal Defense Lawyer, accessed Sept. 14, 2018

Figure 4. Sentences and fines for misdemeanors in Ohio, by degree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:  Ohio Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences, Criminal Defense Lawyer, accessed Sept. 14, 2018

If passed by voters, Issue 1 would assign lesser penalties to some nonviolent drug possession crimes. The amendment states that, “with respect to state laws that make possessing, obtaining, or using a drug or drug paraphernalia a criminal offense, in no case shall any offense be classified higher than a misdemeanor.” The amendment then states that this section does not apply to convictions for drug trafficking or to “convictions for any drug offense that, based on volume or weight, and as of January 1, 2018, was classified as a first, second, or third-degree felony offense.” In any two-year period, a first or second conviction for possession or use would result in no more than probation. If an individual has more than two offenses within a two-year period, then sanctions may include either jail time or probation.

Drug possession vs. drug trafficking

Issue 1 would not adjust penalties or classifications for offenses related to drug trafficking, sale or distribution. Under Ohio law, a person can be charged with drug trafficking if they:

  1. Sell or offer to sell a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog, or
  2. Prepare for shipment, ship, transport, deliver, prepare for distribution or distribute a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog, when the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the controlled substance or a controlled substance analog is intended for sale or resale by the offender or another person.

On the other hand, a person can be charged with drug possession if they obtain, possess or use a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog. If a prosecutor has evidence that meets the elements of each of these crimes, she or he may have discretion when determining which charges to bring against an offender.

Retroactive application

Issue 1 would not only adjust penalties for drug possession crimes in the future, but could also adjust penalties for individuals who have been convicted of fourth- or fifth-degree drug possession felonies in the past. Changes to the law would allow individuals who have been convicted of fourth- or fifth-degree felonies for possessing, obtaining or using illegal drugs to petition the court that convicted them. Individuals could petition the court to change their conviction to a new class of offense (i.e. misdemeanor instead of a felony) and request resentencing or release from prison. If the sentence has already been served, the convicted person may still petition the court to have the conviction reclassified.

Probation violations

  1. Prohibit courts from ordering persons on felony probation to be sent to prison for non-criminal probation violations
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When an individual is convicted of a crime, the court may grant the individual probation instead of jail or prison time. Under probation, individuals are supervised in the community through a probation agency. Probation in Ohio can also include a wide variety of programming, including locked-down residential drug treatment in a non-jail setting. The individual must abide by the terms of probation, which could include reporting to a probation officer, maintaining employment, completing community service and/or abstaining from drug use. Failure to abide by the terms of probation can result in additional sentencing, including jail or prison time.

Issue 1 would prohibit courts from ordering that individuals on probation for felonies be sent to prison for non-criminal probation violations. For example, if a person on probation misses an appointment with the probation officer or relapses on a drug addiction, that person could not then be sentenced to time in prison. Instead, the amendment would require graduated responses for non-criminal probation violations.

Graduated response is a system of actions from the court based on the behavior of the person on probation. Compliant behavior results in more lenient responses from the court, such as community service or addiction treatment programs, while non-compliant behavior results in more restrictive responses, such as more intensive supervision or even jail time. Issue 1 would require trial courts in Ohio to adopt a system of graduated responses for non-criminal probation violations. The system must then be approved by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC).

Drug treatment and rehabilitation in prisons

  1. Expand Ohio’s earned-credit program to reduce sentences for inmates participating in drug treatment, work or educational programs
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To incentivize rehabilitation in prison, Issue 1 requires DRC to grant sentence reductions to prisoners who are engaged in rehabilitative, work or educational programs. Individuals in prison would be granted a half-day credit for each day of participation in qualifying programs. Inmates could earn credits for up to 25 percent of the sentence. DRC would be able to grant up to 30 days of additional sentence credits for completion of rehabilitative, work or educational programs. Sentence credits would apply to all inmates except those convicted of murder, rape or child molestation, or individuals serving sentences of death or life without parole.

State spending on incarceration and addiction treatment

  1. Require the state to spend the prison-cost savings resulting from the reforms described above on drug treatment, trauma recovery for crime victims and other criminal justice system programs
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An objective of Issue 1 is to create cost savings in the criminal justice system through the criminal justice reform measures described above, and to redirect savings to fund community-based addiction treatment services. If passed, Issue 1 requires the General Assembly to appropriate funds in the state biennial budget equal to the projected savings in the state criminal justice system resulting from Issue 1. On October 10, 2018, the Ohio Office of Budget and Management released a fiscal analysis of Issue 1. It estimates that the ballot initiative would result in $1.3 million – $24.7 million of savings to the state prison system in Fiscal Year 2020.

Of these appropriated funds, 70 percent would be disbursed to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS). Under Issue 1, OhioMHAS would administer a grant program to fund substance abuse treatment programs, services and supports.

The remaining 30 percent of the funds would go to other entities and programs that are consistent with the intent of Issue 1, such as crime victim programs, adult and juvenile probation department programs, graduated response programs and rehabilitation programs for people in the criminal justice system. At least half of these funds would go to the Ohio Attorney General for a grant-funded victim trauma recovery services program.

For or against?: Organizations that have taken a position on Issue 1

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The list below highlights organizations that have posted position statements on Issue 1, as of Oct. 16, 2018. If you know of additional position statements that have been publicly posted, please contact Hailey Akah at hakah@healthpolicyohio.org.

Support Issue 1

Argument for Issue 1, submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State by Ohio Safe and Healthy Communities Campaign

Statements in support:

Oppose Issue 1

Argument against Issue 1, submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State by Louis Tobin, Executive Director, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and Paul Pfeifer, Executive Director, Ohio Judicial Conference

Statements in opposition:

Research and resources on drug treatment and criminal justice reform

The following resources include expert consensus statements, evidence registries, research articles and grey literature from organizations involved in the addiction and criminal justice sectors. These resources provide information from a variety of viewpoints on the reforms proposed by Issue 1.

General addiction treatment

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Facing Addiction in America

Chapter 4: Early Intervention, Treatment and Management of Substance Use Disorders
Summarizes research findings on the effectiveness of treatment interventions and services, including early intervention, Medication-Assisted Treatment, behavioral therapies, telehealth/telemedicine and drug courts.


 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Defense, 2015

Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Substance Use Disorders
Clinical practice guidelines from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, based on a systematic review of both clinical and epidemiological evidence, developed by a panel of multidisciplinary experts. It recommends various treatment options while rating both the quality of the evidence and the strength of the recommendation. (Recommendations begin on page 25.)


National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012

Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide, Third Edition
Resource for healthcare providers, family members and other stakeholders that succinctly describes 13 principles of effective treatment for addiction to nicotine, alcohol and illicit and prescription drugs.


National Institute on Drug Abuse

Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
Factsheet that discusses research findings on effective treatment approaches for drug abuse and addiction.


Ohio Governor’s Office of Health Transformation and Ohio Department of Health, 2017

2017-2019 State Health Improvement Plan
Recommendations to reduce drug dependence/abuse and overdose deaths in Ohio, including strategies to improve behavioral health access, system quality and workforce, based on a review of research evidence and input from Ohio stakeholders.


Trust for America’s Health, 2017

Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Crisis and the Need for a National Resilience Strategy
Report that includes list of evidence-based and promising policies and programs to reduce drug and alcohol misuse, including strategies to improve the behavioral health system (see Section 4).


Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Washington State Institute for Public Policy Benefit-Cost Results
Literature reviews and benefit-cost analyses of a wide variety of health and human services programs, including substance use disorder prevention and treatment.


County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

What Works for Health
Searchable database of evidence-based policies and programs. Rates strength of evidence of effectiveness (scientifically supported, some evidence, expert opinion, insufficient evidence, mixed evidence, evidence of ineffectiveness). Includes alcohol and drug use and tobacco use.


Cochrane Collaboration

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Searchable database of systematic reviews on wide range of healthcare topics, including a “Tobacco, drugs and alcohol” category.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Innovations Exchange
Searchable database that rates the strength of evidence of effectiveness (strong, moderate, suggestive) for a wide range of clinical health care innovations.

Addiction treatment for specific drugs

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Opioids

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 2015

National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opiate Use
Guidance for clinicians, developed by an independent committee of experts, on the appropriate and effective use of medications (methadone, buprenorphine/Suboxone, naltrexone/Vivitrol) and psychosocial methods to evaluate and treat opioid use disorder and opioid overdose.


American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 2013

ASAM Criteria (actual text is not available for free; must order)
Comprehensive set of guidelines for placement, continued stay and transfer/discharge of patients with addiction and co-occurring conditions. Designed for addiction treatment providers serving adolescents and adults.


American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 2017

ASAM Consensus Document on Drug Testing in Clinical Addiction Medicine
Guidance for clinicians about the effective use of drug testing in the identification, diagnosis, treatment and promotion of recovery for patients with, or at risk for, addiction.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016

Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder Pocket Guide
Concise guide for physicians to best practices for use of extended release injectable naltrexone (Vivitrol), methadone and buprenorphine (Suboxone).


Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016

Best Practices for Addressing Prescription Opioid Overdoses, Misuse and Addiction (information bulletin for state Medicaid programs)
Describes Medicaid pharmacy benefit management strategies for mitigating prescription drug abuse, such as provider education, preferred drug lists, clinical criteria, prior authorization, quantity limits and increased use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs). Also addresses strategies state Medicaid programs can take to increase provision of naloxone for overdose reversal and access to opioid use disorder treatment.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015

Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment Programs
Description of minimum acceptable standards for opioid treatment programs (OTPs)—treatment providers that administer methadone and/or buprenorphine (Suboxone)—developed by a panel of experts.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP): A Treatment Improvement Protocol
Detailed best-practice guidelines, developed by a consensus panel, to inform Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs)—treatment providers that administer methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone), LAAM or naltrexone (Vivitrol).


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004

Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction: A Treatment Improvement Protocol
Detailed best-practice guidelines, developed by a consensus panel, to inform use of buprenorphine in opioid addiction treatment.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015

Clinical Use of Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone in the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder: A Brief Guide
Guidance for clinicians, developed by a consensus panel, on the appropriate and effective use of injectable naltrexone (Vivitrol).


American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 2017

A Public Health Response to Opioid Use in Pregnancy
Recommendations for a public health response to opiate use and abuse in pregnancy.


American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 2016

Medication-Assisted Treatment of Adolescents with Opioid Use Disorders
Recommendations for MAT of adolescents with opioid use disorders.


American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Congress of Obstetrician and Gynecologists, 2017

Opioid Use and Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy
This committee opinion is a resource for clinicians in obstetrics and gynecology related to opioid screening and prescribing.


The National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2017

Ending the Opioid Crisis: A Practical Guide for State Policymakers
Specific recommendations for state policymakers to prevent opioid misuse and addiction, reduce overdose deaths, improve addiction treatment and improve addiction care in the criminal justice system.


Cocaine, methamphetamine and other psycho-stimulants

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999

Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorders (Treatment Improvement Protocol No. 33)
Guidance for substance use disorder treatment providers on appropriate treatment of stimulant abuse and dependence, including addiction to cocaine and methamphetamine.


National Institute on Drug Abuse, updated 2016

Cocaine
Research report which includes summary of effective approaches to cocaine addiction treatment.


National Institute on Drug Abuse, updated 2013

Methamphetamine
Research report which includes summary of effective approaches to methamphetamine addiction treatment.

Addiction treatment in prisons and jails

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American Correctional Association (ACA) and American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 2018

Joint Public Correctional Policy on the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders for Justice Involved Individuals
Report that identifies evidence-based practices for the treatment of opioid use disorders.


The National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2017

Ending the Opioid Crisis: A Practical Guide for State Policymakers
Specific recommendations for state policymakers to prevent opioid misuse and addiction, reduce overdose deaths, improve addiction treatment and improve addiction care in the criminal justice system.


The Center on Community Solutions and Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition, 2018

By the Numbers 4: Developing a Common Understanding for the Future of Behavioral Health Care, Landscape and Analysis of the Intersection between the Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Systems
A report examining the current state of behavioral health services for adults involved with the criminal justice system in Ohio, including barriers to accessing services. This series of reports provides data and context related to Ohio’s mental health and substance use disorder services.


Federal Bureau of Prisoners, 2018

Detoxification of Chemically Dependent Inmates
Clinical guidelines for managing withdrawal symptoms in inmates addicted to substances, including alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, cocaine/stimulates and inhalants.


Human Impact Partners, 2014

Rehabilitating Corrections in California, The Health Impacts of Proposition 47: Full Health Impact Assessment Report (p 41-51)
Report that assesses the public health and equity impacts of reclassifying drug possession and petty theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors in California.


Center on Addiction, 2010

Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population
Analyses of the extent to which drugs are implicated in crimes and incarceration in America


Addiction, 2010

Improving access to opiate addiction treatment for prisoners
Summarizes the impact of opiate substitution therapy (OST) and HIV risk behaviors and health outcomes related to opioid use.


American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 2002

Public Policy Statement on Access to Appropriate Detoxification Services for Persons Incarcerated in Prisons and Jails
Includes recommendations regarding access to treatment for withdrawal, ongoing medical care for those recovering from addiction, and accreditation.


American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 2000

Public Policy Statement on Treatment for Prisoners with Addiction to Alcohol or Other Drugs
Includes recommendations regarding drug addiction treatment interventions in prison, community corrections programs, and continuum of treatment services.

Drug decriminalization and reclassification

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National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2014

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences
A consensus study report focused on the high rate of incarceration in the U.S and criminal justice reform strategies to decrease this rate. The Committee on Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration provides an overview of policies and practices that contributed to high incarceration rates, the effects of high incarceration, and recommendations for criminal justice reforms to address these concerns.


Law and Social Inquiry, 2014

Uses and Abuses of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal
A research article that evaluates the effects of Portugal’s decriminalization of the acquisition, possession, and use of small quantities of all psychoactive drugs. The article also considers how decriminalization would impact the United States if the reforms in Portugal were applied in that context.


Policy Matters Ohio, 2018

Issue 1: Reducing incarceration, improving communities
An analysis of Issue 1 which concludes that reducing incarceration through the ballot initiative would lower costs in the prison system, reduce overcrowding, help more Ohioans get jobs and contribute to their families and communities, and enable better treatment for crime victims and offenders.


Policy Matters Ohio, 2018

Literature review: Incarceration hurts communities
A literature review and analysis of Issue 1 that finds that treating some some offenders in community treatment instead of prison will prevent some of the harm that comes from spending time in prison. These Ohioans will be healthier, more employable and more able to avoid committing new crimes or needing public assistance.


Drug Policy Alliance, 2017

It’s Time for the U.S. to Decriminalize Drug Use and Possession
The report analyzes decriminalization, discusses the problematic elements of drug criminalization and highlights efforts to reduce drug penalties in the U.S.


The Buckeye Institute, 2017

Ohio Should Follow Its Own Lead to Safely Reduce Its Prison Population
A policy brief outlining the economic and societal advantages of using a local Community Based Corrections model for low-level offenders, as opposed to incarceration. The brief compares Ohio’s adult corrections system with the Ohio juvenile corrections system, including the Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to Incarceration of Minors (RECLAIM) program.


Global Commission on Drug Policy, 2016

Advancing Drug Policy Reform: A New Approach to Decriminalization
This report covers the benefits of well-implemented decriminalization, alternatives to punishment of low-level actors in drug trade and recommendations for next steps.


Drug Policy Alliance, 2015

Approaches to Decriminalizing Drug Use and Possession
White paper outlining the experience of other countries with decriminalizing drug use and possession, efforts to decriminalize drugs in the U.S. and recommendations for state and federal policymakers.


County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Drug courts
Provides an overview of drug courts, including their beneficial outcomes, evidence of effectiveness, examples of implementation and resources.


IZA Institute of Labor Economics, 2017

Going after the Addiction, Not the Addicted: The Impact of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal
A series of discussion papers examining the impact of policy changes regarding decriminalizing drugs in Portugal.


National Affairs, 2012

The Drug-Policy Roulette
An article discussing the economic and social impacts of drug legalization. The article discusses how legalization may reduce the cost of drugs, increasing both supply and demand, and that increased drug use would have long-term social impacts on communities.

Probation reform (including graduated responses, criminal justice supervision and substance abuse treatment during probation)

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National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2008

Parole, Desistance from Crime, and Community Integration
A consensus study report focused on parole and post-release life for people who are justice-involved. The Committee on Community Supervision and Desistance from Crime provides an overview of current practices in parole and community resources to assist people post-release, as well as recommendations for better connecting people to post-release services.


U.S. Department of Justice, 2012

Probation and Parole in the United States
Reports an overview of probation and parole, including definitions and statistics, rates of reincarceration, as well as federal community supervision.


Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 2012

Return to drug use and overdose after release from prison: A qualitative study of risk and protective factors
A research study analyzing drug use, perceptions of overdose risk and experience with overdose of former prisoners. Discusses structured drug treatment programs as a protective factor.


The Council of State Governments, Justice Center, 2011

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio: Policy Framework to Reduce Corrections Spending & Reinvest Savings in Strategies that Can Reduce Crime
This policy brief outlines a policy framework for reducing the high cost of corrections and reinvesting those funds into crime reduction strategies. The brief proposes 13 policies options and reviews data and best practices from other states.


National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 2009

Standardizing Parole Violation Sanctions
An article that examines two state policies—one in Ohio and one in California—that are meant to address issues of fairness and proportionality in parole violation sanctions. The article outlines those state policies and how they can help address re-entry challenges nationwide.


Vera Institute of Justice, 2005

Probation Reform: Is Zero Tolerance a Viable Option?
This discussion paper summarizes the research on the Kleiman model of community corrections and probation reform, and then summarizes practitioner feedback to Kleiman’s ideas. The paper also includes recommendations for further research.


California Policy Research Center, University of California, 2003

Opportunities and Barriers in Probation Reform: A Case Study of Drug Testing and Sanctions
This study examines the use of drug testing in probation supervision and offers resources and recommendations.


Science and Practice Perspectives, 2003

Integrating Substance Abuse Treatment and Criminal Justice Supervision
This article outlines the benefits of combining a public safety model and a public health approach for addressing addiction in communities. This approach combines community-based drug abuse treatment with ongoing criminal justice supervision. This article presents findings from programs implementing this strategy and discusses best treatment practices to meet the needs of both low-risk and high-risk clients.

Updated 10.16.2018