Ohio inmate cuts not as quick as anticipated

A year after new Ohio prison reforms were set in place, officials say reductions in the state's inmate population have not come as quickly as anticipated.
Associated Press
Nov 27, 2012

Legislation that kicked in Sept. 30, 2011, promised to reduce the state prison population by 3,500 and save taxpayers up to $46.2 million by fiscal year 2015. But Linda Janes, chief of staff with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said prison officials are underwhelmed somewhat by reductions in population.

"We certainly have seen some impact thus far, but not quite what we anticipated," Janes told The (Newark) Advocate for a story published Monday.

The legislation had a number of cost-cutting provisions. They included raising dollar-amount thresholds for theft offenses, encouraging probation or local incarceration for first-time offenders and those who don't pay child support, and capping some third-degree felonies at three years instead of five.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reported that judges have reduced the average number of people sent to prison by more than 100 each month compared to the year before the legislation took effect.

The corrections department said two-thirds of Ohio's counties sent fewer people to prison each month during the last year than the year before. Sixty-six counties reduced the number of people sent to prison for the lowest-level felonies targeted by the legislation.

Janes said the state closed five camps and two dormitories because of reductions in prison population. However, she said, it's unclear how much reforms have saved taxpayers because money was reinvested into grants to help county probation departments offset costs of their additional work.

Janes blames the sluggish start, in part, on a provision of the bill that has yet to take effect.

By January, the state corrections department will be able to recommend early release for certain prisoners who serve 80 percent of their sentence and meet standards, such as good behavior and completing classes.

"We hope that judges will take our recommendations very seriously," Janes said.

It costs taxpayers about $68.14 to house an inmate in prison for a day.

 

Comments

KnuckleDragger

Get rid of the useless prohibition on drugs and you will solve two problems, the number of inmates in the prison system and tax revenue problems, when it is legal and can be taxed.

Brick Hamland

Good idea Kncuckles, especially since i would assume all the drug dealers who have lived a life of crime to date are going to have a change of heart and start claiming the proceeds from the sales so that they can be taxed... Thank you drug dealer turned tax payer!

Contango

Removing the profit incentive from drugs is half the battle.

Decrim or legalization ain't gonna happen however; too many highly paid govt. kleptocrats are financially dependent upon keeping 'em illegal.

Regardless, increase the penalties. The U.S. prison industrial complex needs more cheap workers for the gulag.

BTW: Whodathunkit that Pravda has become more honest than our own State controlled media?

http://english.pravda.ru/opinion...

wiredmama222

Had they not stopped executing some of the more violent criminals in this country, perhaps they wouldn't have this problem as well. How many criminals are they housing on death row who's sentences were communited to life sentences when the state stopped executions?

How long have we housed those people now? Twenty, thirty years? How much did that cost us? Hundreds of thousands of dollars? Had we actually executed these people for their crimes, we would not have been in debt for that money would we?

But they don't talk about those costs, just the lower minimal incarcerations of three to five years. The recycle inmates that go right back in. So their suggetion to the judges is let them go??? No wonder we have such a mess out here. The state can't afford to pay the cost, so do it locally, which we have no cells to do it with, or let them be...and they commit more local crimes making more work for the local police and flood the local courts again and again. Where does this stop?

It sounds to me like we need better prison systems and more money to assist in them staying in prison to stop this mess rather than letting them OUT or saying keep them locally. What hairball idiot came up with this noise? What bureaucrat decided this was a smart move? Some lawyer or pencil pushing accountant???

When you start mixing law with the bottom line, you have a serious problem. Make up your mind! Which is more important? The saftey of it's citizenry or the money it cost to protect them???? You cannot have both.