COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio is working to overhaul how those with non-violent drug possession charges are treated in the judicial system.
Senate Bill 3 passed through the state Senate on Tuesday with a 25-4 vote.
The bill would reclassify some non-violent drug possession charges from a felony down to a misdemeanor and allow defendants in some cases to complete a treatment program instead of going to jail.
The bill has bipartisan support and advocates say it will not only give those struggling with addiction a second chance, but they can do so without a felony on their record.
“You’re able to quickly get someone toward that path of treatment,” said Shakyra Diaz, the Ohio State Director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “People don’t have as many hurdles to jump that come with a felony conviction to be able to access treatment.”
Many came to testify against the bill as well during the process, most notably several prosecutors.
Those who oppose the bill believe that without prison on the table, many people will not seek treatment.