LETTER TO THE EDITOR
in Ohio Would Restore Civil Rights
The War on Drugs
has disproportionately hurt Latinos and African-Americans, who
are more likely to be arrested and incarcerated than white
people if found using drugs. I believe Issue 1, a constitutional
amendment that will be on the ballot in Ohio on November 6,
would help change this and give a second chance to non-violent
offenders in minority communities who are charged with drug
possession or drug use.
ethnic populations face discrimination at every stage of the
criminal justice system – they are stopped, searched, arrested
and convicted at higher rates than Caucasian people. And when it
comes to drug crimes, Latinos and African-Americans are more
likely to receive mandatory minimum sentences than Caucasians
convicted of the same offenses.
the War on Drugs continues to punish drug users long
after they have served their sentence through policies that deny
felons employment opportunities and access to business loans,
student aid and public housing. This means Latinos and
African-Americans continue to pay for their past mistakes long
after they leave prison.
would change this because it would reclassify fourth- and
fifth-degree felonies for possessing or using drugs to
misdemeanors. If passed, people who are currently incarcerated
could be released and people with previous convictions could
have them reclassified, opening up many opportunities for
Ohioans who are currently registered as felons, including the
ability to find jobs, provide for their families, and positively
contribute to society.
We can never
take back the damage the War on Drugs has done to our
communities, but we can make sure people who are still
disenfranchised by it are given a second chance. Issue 1
is a step toward achieving that. On Election Day, I urge La
Prensa’s readers in Ohio to vote yes.
Ohio Senate District 15 and Ohio Senate Assistant Minority