Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ohio HB 86 sentencing guidelines

A story in the Warren, Ohio Tribune Chronicle Tuesday is relating that many judges around the state are “taking a wait & see approach” to new sentencing guidelines effected by recently-passed Ohio House Bill 86, under which they would be under orders “to contact the Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation and Correction if they choose to sentence certain fourth- and fifth-degree felons.

“Those convicted of lower-level felonies still may go to prison if they committed a sex offense or a crime of violence with a gun or threatened harm to a victim,” the article said, “But in the case of lower-level felony drug offenders and non-violent offenders, judges had to notify ODRC ‘'for information on programming / sanctions available of at least one year's duration.’” The question then centers around already overworked probation departments.

The Ohio Sentencing Commission has compiled a summary & analysis of HB 86 for more detailed information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's amazing about HB86 is the lack of coverage of the most important aspect of that bill. I have read and heard nothing from so-called professionals in the legal arena concerning the certificate of achievement/employability as enacted under Revised Code Chapter 2961. According to 2961.22 any prisoner can apply for this amplified felony certificate if they meet a certain criteria. Apparently the certificate would eliminate state-sponsored sanctions (license denials for HVAC, plumbing, etc., based on felony conviction or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude)thus permitting them to obtain employment in the private sector whereas otherwise they would have been prohibited (licensing, etc). But the key words are criteria and according to the list in that section several ex-felons such as myself don't qualify for this badge of shame and further retribution. This state sponsors civil sanctions against ex-offenders as noted in the report prepared by the UC Center for Criminal Justice which noted roughly 800 collateral sanctions facing ex-offenders due to their convictions. These are state imposed sanctions; not private sector sanction, but state created sanctions which contribute greatly to recidivism.
The certificate is not and would not equally apply to all prisoners because not all prisoners had access to programs assuming they even existed. The certificate would only amplify the felony conviction...kinda like pinning a Star of David to our chests.
Finally, the shame badge doesn't mean squat in the private sector which has little to no guidance in conducting proper background checks AS IT RELATES to the position applying for. You'd have to be plain stupid to think that workplace violence and theft is associated moreso to ex-offenders while at work or on duty than non-offenders at work or on duty. Too much data exists to latch on that lie anymore. In addition, very few cases exist anywhere in America reflecting more employment liability by hiring ex-offenders as compared to the volumes of cases of employer liability with non-offending employees (i.e. postal workers for an example, nonfrequenters who rob a business, etc).
HB86 might be effective in other areas but litigation will challenge aspects of it as incorporated under Chapter 2961 of the Revised Code as being in violation of the equal protection and due process clauses.
C. Knecht, Dir.