Ohio is the second state this month to pass legislation aimed at giving non-violent offenders a second chance. With the passage of Senate Bill 66, Ohioans who have committed certain low-level offenses will have more options to treat their addiction and mental health issues as a part of their sentence. This way justice is maintained while the justice system corrects the behavior that led to the crime.
Judges will also have more discretion to seal criminal records for ex-offenders who prove their commitment to reintegration by remaining crime-free. A criminal record is the modern day scarlet letter, low level offenders should not be forced to carry out a life-long punishment after they pay their debt to society.
The bill passed the House 84-2 and the Senate by unanimous approval. It is on its way to the Governor Kasich’s desk where it will await his signature. It has the support of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Earlier this month Pennsylvania passed their own bill which will seal the criminal records of certain low level offenders after a ten year period without a conviction. Americans for Tax Reform applauds these changes as more states take up smart justice reforms.