There is a very important issue on the ballot in this year’s November election: Issue 1.

Issue 1 is not just a tax issue, it’s a choice of how the residents want to move forward in dealing with crime and drug addiction. This tax issue was put on the ballot by the County Commissioners who feel that ALL taxing issues should go to the public via the ballot. The fact they have acted responsibly in putting this on the ballot shows we can trust their judgment with this project in terms of minimizing the burden on the taxpayers of our county.

Drug addiction and its aftermath have been a part of our nation’s history dating back to the Civil War. To believe that the latest addiction problems in our county are a momentary problem is naïve at best.

21st century techniques look at addiction from a pragmatic standpoint. The best way to deal with this cancer in our society is to get away from the notion that “one size fits all” in terms of criminalization and recovery. 

Studies have shown that we have much more success rehabilitating younger offenders than older habitual offenders or serial criminals. The last thing you want to do is house young offenders or first-time offenders with serial criminals who are a very bad influence on them. We all have been affected by drug addiction in one form or another, whether we are a victim of a criminal offense or have a family member or friend with addiction issues. In order to break the cycle of addiction and it’s cost on society and especially its cost on our legal system we need to fully understand what Issue 1 is offering.

Issue 1 is an opportunity to invest and take control of issues that have plagued our county for decades. We will have room for and can isolate those hardcore offenders in our society who repeatedly violate our laws and make our county less safe. Drug dealers and violent criminals need to be housed in jail. We should never have to choose what serious criminals get housed or get turned loose based on a lack of space. Secondly and equally important is to rehabilitate younger offenders and to isolate them from hardcore criminals. If we can rehabilitate even half of the younger or first-time offenders and return them to society as productive members, this jail and rehab facility will pay for itself in very short order.

I personally plan to support Issue 1. The alternative is more of the same. Theft, overdoses, violent crime and the destruction of far too many of our youth. The state of Ohio has already given our current jail a failing grade. No action will result in the State shutting down our jail like they did in Cuyahoga and causing us to spend far more money to house our prisoners in other county jails while renovating the same building that has failed to address what we have struggled with for decades.

Take the time to learn about Issue 1. Attend a meeting or a virtual townhall. Talk to Sheriff Niemi about this issue. The reasons to support Issue 1 far outweigh the reasons to be opposed to it.


Charlie Frye


Ashtabula County Republican Party


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