Learn about Issue 1, then vote


In December 2017, the title of State Issue 1 was called “The Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment.” Since August 2018, the title now reads: “To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining Illegal Drugs.”

The title was changed by Secretary of State Jon Husted. It pays to read beyond the headline.

Issue 1 is an amendment which encourages incarcerated people to work toward transforming themselves. A person would be able to earn one day off their prison sentence for every two days they participate in programs like job training, victim awareness, cognitive therapy and getting a GED.

This earned credit would be capped at 25 percent of a person’s sentence. It would not be available to anyone convicted of murder, rape or child molestation.

Drug possession offenses currently a felony would be reclassified to a misdemeanor and the first two misdemeanors would not require jail time, although all “drug trafficking” felonies would remain felonies and require jail time.

The amendment would reduce the state prison population, saving an estimated $100 million, which would be spent on healing people most harmed by addiction and crime: 70 percent for drug treatment programs, 15 percent for trauma recovery services for crime survivors, and 15 percent to local communities through competitive grant programs.

Regardless of your position on this proposed amendment or your political persuasion, exercise your right to vote. The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 9. Early voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Don Spurling

Wilmington