Reagan Tokes Act proposed for Ohio criminal justice reform

Reagan Tokes (Photo provided)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Eddie Slade says when he was released from prison the first time, he was unprepared to re-enter society. He says his prison mentality took over when a man came at him with a crowbar and he stabbed the man to death. He went back to prison for 31 years.

Slade was paroled in 2012 and he now is dedicated to helping other inmates prepare to re-enter society. “I believe that the process should start inside because I came out crippled, handcuffed because I didn’t have the skills that I needed to come straight to the streets.”

Slade was one of a number of speakers at a Statehouse luncheon to draw attention to criminal justice reform legislation.

One of those bills is the Reagan Tokes Act named after the Ohio State University student who was kidnapped and murdered in February.

Lawmakers held their first committee hearing on the bill Tuesday.

The bill is intended to incentivize prison inmates to rehabilitate themselves by creating indefinite prison terms for most felonies. It also would require a task force to propose a re-entry plan for violent offenders who are denied services from existing programs because of their criminal records.

Because current law requires a definite sentence, Brian Golsby, the man accused of killing Tokes, had been released from prison even though he had repeatedly violated prison rules.

Slade, who was sentenced under an older law, was denied parole several times. He says that’s the way it should be. “Just like…I had to go back and look at myself and change myself, some of those laws need to be changed or modified to where they fit the system today.”

Sen. Randy Gardner, (R) of Bowling Green has proposed a bill to require released murderers and kidnappers to register their addresses with a county sheriff. The information would be kept in a law enforcement database. “When a crime is commenced or there’s suspicion of an abduction or kidnapping, it would be helpful to law enforcement, they tell us, to be able to find out where these potential suspected offenders are,” Gardner said. “We want to give more knowledge to citizens and more knowledge to law enforcement to protect our communities.”

Gardner said, under the proposed bill, the public could access the offender address information in person at the county sheriff’s office. But, he said, the information would not be posted online like the current state sex offender registry.

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