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Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 1:13 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 6:35 PM
Columbus — Local state Rep. Niraj Antani is pushing a bill that would require people on parole or probation who test positive for illegal opioids be jailed or sent to a 30-day residential drug treatment program.
Antani, a Miamisburg Republican, said drug treatment expenses would be borne by the offender — not the government. Taxpayers foot the bill for jail costs, which average about $65 a day per inmate. House Bill 457 does not include additional funding for jails or drug treatment programs.
Data isn’t available on how many parolees or offenders on probation fail drug tests for opiates on an annual basis. There are roughly 240,000 Ohioans on probation — a large portion of them for drug offenses.
Related: Why are so many Ohioans in prison?
Antani acknowledges that his measure would put people struggling with addiction into jails.
“But our primary concern has to be the safety of our citizens. I’d rather have jails a little bit more crowded than more people dead of overdoses,” he said. Antani added that he disagrees with those who say America cannot arrest its way out of the drug crisis. “If we arrested every drug dealer and trafficker, it would make a difference.”
Local man died after testing positive for opioids
The bill was inspired by the overdose death of Scottie Childers in January 2017 at the age of 31.
The father of five daughters had been caught in a spiral of drug addiction, jail, treatment and relapses for four years, said his mother, Linda Chambers of Medway. “He was a good person. He was a good father and he worked hard and had a nice home. And he lost it all,” she said. As a condition of probation, Childers was required to take drug tests.
Should parolees who fail drug tests be forced to go to jail or treatment? Ohio is considering it. https://t.co/DMU8FRj9M2— Ohio Politics (@Ohio_Politics) January 3, 2018
He failed one on Jan. 27 but his Montgomery County probation officer elected not to revoke his probation and send him to jail.
“Would he have died tomorrow or next week or next year, we don’t know. But he wouldn’t have died four hours later (if he had been sent to jail,)” Chambers said.
Chambers said jail is a safe place for people struggling with addiction, until treatment be arranged. “I know you can’t keep them in there. You can’t arrest the problem away. There needs to be more treatment.”
What the opposition says
ACLU of Ohio lobbyist Gary Daniels warns that Antani’s bill won’t solve problems but it will exacerbate many existing issues.
“There is wide, bipartisan recognition this is not a problem we can convict and incarcerate our way out of. Advocates for the ‘lock them up’ approach have had four decades to prove its effectiveness. Yet, the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ has been and remains an absolute failure using any objective standards,” Daniels said in an email.
Jails don’t have the capacity to lock up people who might be affected by such legislation and the demand for drug treatment exceeds supply, he said.
Lori Criss, chief executive of the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers, said Ohioans need access to immediate services and long-term drug treatment.
Criss said Antani’s solution would keep people from immediately accessing opiates and could kick start recovery. But, she said, it may create more problems: further overload jails, eliminate the discretion to find the best response to someone’s addiction crisis, give false hope to family members, and treat opioid addictions differently than addictions to other drugs such as cocaine or alcohol.
“It may just delay relapse,” she said. “Addiction is a chronic disease and requires a long-term plan that incorporates a variety of physical, psychological and social strategies for success.”
Even after a year of treatment, relapse rates are more than 60 percent and after three years of recovery support, the relapse rate is 34 percent, she said.
Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims, a member of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, said jails by default are detox centers for Ohioans gripped by addiction. “We are stuck with that now. We’re stuck with the addiction problems,” he said.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wooster, introduced a bill last month that calls for increasing penalties for felony drug trafficking of heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and other schedule I & II drugs. Wiggam said the bill is supported by prosecutors and law enforcement organizations.
Get the latest news from our Columbus Bureau reporter Laura Bischoff on our Ohio Politics Facebook page. Sign up for our daily Ohio Politics newsletter at MyDaytonDailyNews.com
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 8:42 AM
Updated: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 10:03 AM
BOSTON — UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will air the AFC and NFC Championship games.
The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.
Meanwhile, Congress is back at work Sunday, attempting to create a deal to end the shutdown.
Great news as Armed Forces Network will air both Championship Sunday NFL games today for our service members around the world— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) January 21, 2018
ORIGINAL STORY: As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.
There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.
Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday.
Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue.
Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.
"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.
For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.
"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.
With no one to run it, AFN is off the air.
The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.
"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.
Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.
Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.
However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats.
Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.
"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 7:48 AM
PERRIS, Calif. — David and Louise Turpin are facing a string of charges, including torture, after police say the couple kept their 13 children locked away in subhuman conditions in their Perris, California, home. On Thursday, the Turpins made their first court appearance.
David Turpin appeared in chains, wearing a lavender shirt and black jacket while his wife sat nearby, also in chains and a black jacket. The Turpins entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges, some of which date back to 2010. The district attorney says the couple is facing 94 years to life in prison if convicted on all counts.
During the arraignment, the Turpins were quiet and spoke only to say they acknowledged their right to a speedy preliminary hearing, CBS reports. They will appear in court again on Feb. 23, and their bail was set at $13 million.
Although the Perris torture defendants were in street clothes, they were in chains - just as authorities said the children of David and Louise Turpin were sometimes held. pic.twitter.com/PSs5PteLbZ— Brian Rokos (@Brian_Rokos) January 18, 2018
District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a press conference, “As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that will haunt you. Sometimes, in this business, we’re faced with looking at human depravity, and that’s what we’re looking at here.”
Authorities said the parents were able to keep their children hidden away by listing their home as a private school. Some of the kids, who ranged in ages from 2 to 29, reportedly didn’t know what a police officer was.
The children were only allowed to eat once a day and shower twice a year, authorities said. However, the parents reportedly did allow them to keep journals, and authorities said the kids filled hundreds of notebooks. Those have not been released and are still being reviewed by law enforcement.
The children are currently being cared for in the hospital, authorities said. The Riverside University Health System has set up a fund for the children that will go to their long-term needs, according to a press release. The hospital said the children have already seen a tremendous outpouring of support.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 10:26 AM
— U.S. lawmakers are in session today but no deal is in sight to prevent an extended government shutdown.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force closed Saturday and other local governmental institutions, including Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will be closed Monday as Republicans and Democrats have failed to reach a deal to fund governmental operations.
Both sides are dug in at the moment, with Republicans pushing for a larger defense budget and the Democrats wanting more non-defense spending as well as an agreement on the immigration bill — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Cox Media Group D.C. Correspondent Jamie Dupree reports.
U.S. Senate members return at 1 p.m. today and the U.S. House of Representatives meet at 2 p.m. but no action is expected this afternoon. The U.S. Senate has a procedural vote set for early Monday morning on the GOP’s plan to fund the government through Feb. 8.
People who work at Wright-Patterson are being asked to report to work on Monday, but it's unclear how many may be sent home.
WPAFB Public Affairs Director Marie Vanover said base officials won't know until Monday the extent the shutdown will have on base employees and services.
"We will undergo an orderly shutdown. Those who are not exempt from the furlough will be sent home," Vanover said.
Vanover said Sunday the base had not yet been advised of "the parameters" that will determine who stays and who goes home.
When the last shutdown struck in 2013, both furloughed workers and those who stayed on the job were reimbursed.
The Child Development Center was scheduled to be open Monday, spokeswoman Marie Vanover said Saturday.
Col. Alden Hilton, commander of the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine which marked its 100th anniversary Friday, said essential classes to train aeromedical flight personnel would continue without interruption.
Hundreds of Air Force reservists scheduled for a monthly drill weekend Jan. 20-21 with the 445th Airlift Wing were expected to proceed because it was previously funded, said Lt. Col. Cynthia Harris, a unit spokeswoman.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the largest single-site employer in Ohio with an estimated 27,000 military and civilian personnel.
Wright-Patterson officials will report updates on the plan on its website wpafb.af.mil. The public may also get information by calling Wright-Patterson's public affairs line, (937) 522-3252.
5 WAYS SHUTDOWN IS AFFECTING GOVERNMENT
1. U.S. troops will continue to report for duty and U.S. Mail will be delivered, but around one million civilian federal workers will not be at work if the shutdown extends into Monday, according to the Associated Press.
2. Nearly 45,500 IRS employees will be furloughed, which could delay the implementation of lower income tax withholdings set to go into effect nationwide next month, according to the AP.
3. Medicare and Medicaid will continue to operate, the former continuing to provide insurance coverage for nearly 59 million seniors and disabled citizens and the ladder continuing to provide coverage for low-income and disabled people, according to the AP.
4. Most of the federal employees under the U.S. Department of Justice will continue working during the shutdown, including members of the national security division, the FBI, DEA, ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the AP.
5. Some U.S. Lawmakers have announced they will donate their pay during the shutdown. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced Saturday he will donate to an Ohio diaper bank that supports struggling families and Sen. Todd Young (R-IND) announced he will donate his pay to charity.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 4:46 PM
TROTWOOD — Trotwood police are investigating an assault Sunday near Meadowdale Elementary School.
Crews were dispatched at 2:40 p.m. to Goldenrod Court in Trotwood on a report of a suspicious circumstance involving a vehicle.
The investigation shut down Goldenrod Court at Thompson Drive.
Police on scene said it was an assault, but did not discuss the nature of the assault or whether anyone was taken to the hospital.