Ineffective. Fiscally irresponsible. Overcrowded.
Those are some of the words used by reform advocates to describe Ohio's criminal justice system. As part of its effort to publicize disparities in the state's prisons, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio will bring its Freedom Tour here on Dec. 6.
Co-sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, the event will feature speakers who will discuss the system's present conditions and what can be done to improve them. Speakers include Terry Collins, former director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction; Donna Jones Baker, the Urban League's executive director; Ed Little, of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Re-entry; and moderator Gary Daniels, the ACLU of Ohio's associate director.
This is the second of the tour's three stops across Ohio.
An ACLU report released in August, entitled Reform Cannot Wait: A Comprehensive Examination of the Cost of Incarceration in Ohio from 1991-2010, evaluated two decades of studies that expose ineffective policies, inefficient use of funds and racial unfairness associated with Ohio’s criminal justice system.
Among its statistics, the report shows that Ohio’s prisons have reached 133 percent capacity, housing 50,920 inmates in a system designed to hold a maximum of 38,655. Also, it reveals that the state’s prison population has quintupled since 1975, bringing a vast number of public policy choices — such as mandatory minimums and other sentencing charges — into question.
One of the state lawmakers who supports making reforms is State Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Green Township).
The Freedom Tour, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the League's offices, located at 3458 Reading Road, in Avondale. Free parking is available in the building's rear area.
For more information or to RSVP, call 216-472-2200 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.