Reform Ohio and Senate Bill 66
Senate Bill 66, also known as the modify criminal sentencing and corrections law, was introduced in Feburary, 2017. The bill proposes that felony sentencing should guided by the "overriding purposes of felony sentencing [which] are to protect the public from future crime by the offender and others, to rehabilitate the offender, and to punish the offender using the minimum sanctions that the court determines accomplish those purposes without imposing an unnecessary burden on state or local government resources."
Senate Bill 66 would also make recording-sealing, also known as expungement, possible for people who have been convicted of more than one lower-level felony. Currently, Ohio only allows a person to seal their record if they have (1) not more than 2 misdemeanor convictions; (2) not more than 1 felony conviction; or (3) not more than 1 misdemeanor conviction and 1 felony conviction.
Reform Ohio, the Religious Action Center's newest state based initiative, is lobbying on behalf of Senate Bill 66 with the hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse faced by many people who eventually end up in prison.
Rabbi Linsey Daziger, a lead organizer of Reform Ohio, said "We view it as a Teshuvah bill. We’re kind of advocating for the criminal justice system to restore people rather than punish them.”
Teshuvah is a Jewish value that means repentance. Reform Ohio hopes that the justice system, through the passing of Senate Bill 66, will allow people to repent and make rejoining the community easier for people with criminal records.