The following reply letter was sent to me June 5, 2012 from Ohio Senator Shirley Smith, whom I’d wirtten to several months earlier seeking to know if any kind of sentencing reforms were in the works for Ohio old-law prisoners. In my letter, I outlined the longstanding old-law sentencing disparity. Being that, at the time, Senator Smith was making some positive gains with sentencing reforms for Ohio’s majority class of new-law prisoners (offenders who committed a crime on or after July 1, 1996), I assumed that she would be more than willing to propose some beneficial sentencing reforms for Ohio’s old-law class of prisoners. In her letter, though, in my opinion, she seems to talk around, under, and over doing anything significant to address the old-law injustice. But, being that she stated that she was going to contact the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction on my behalf, I remained optimistic that some kind of semblance of justice might be achieved. Nevertheless, I never heard from anyone at the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
June 5, 2012
Dear Mr. Goudlock,
Thank you very much for your letter regarding your 18 years in prison under an “Old Law” sentence. Though there has been much work done over the last two years to reform Ohio’s criminal sentencing laws, no attempts have been made to rectify the problems that old law prisoners regularly denounce. Ohio’s prison population and its ex-offenders represent a segement of the population that is too frequently forgotten in public policy discussions.
Should any legislator decide to address these issues with additional legislation, please know that I will keep you informed with the appropriate information. Your concerns are not lost upon me, because I believe that every individual deserves a second chance in life. Please know that I will be in touch with the Department of Rehabilitation & Correction in order to discuss your situation and concerns.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to write to me again,
Shirley A. Smith
State Senator, 21st District
Download a PDF copy of the letter from Senator Shirley Smith.