Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ohio's Prison Crisis

A recent article in the Cincinnati Enquirer mapped out in detail the dire straits of Ohio's correction system and the reluctance of Ohio lawmakers to take on the crisis during an election year. Below is a summary of a more in depth article.

In April, Ohio’s statewide inmate population climbed within 128 inmates of the all-time record of 51,273. Ohio’s prison inmate population has grown by more than 500 percent since 1972 (8,846) and is projected to soar to 53,992 by next July absent any changes to Ohio's sentencing scheme or prison treatment regimen.

The cost of corrections in Ohio is averaging $1.6 billion a year. That is an increase from last year's corrections budget as well as being up from $480 million in 1991 and $1.4 billion in 2001. About one of every four state employees works for the Ohio Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Services.

According to John Jay College, at least 26 states have reversed the trend of recent decades and cut funding for corrections. Ohio lags behind half the nation in cutting its prison expenditures.

Legislative leaders are awaiting completion of a CSG Justice Center study, which could take up to three years, before deciding on any drastic action, such as a mass release of inmates. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative study, which could cost up to $1 million, was prompted by a 2008 request from Ohio’s elected state leaders. Most of the cost is paid for by the Pew Center on the States and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The Enquirer suggested that with most Ohio legislators seeking re-election this fall, it’s easier to keep a near-record number of state prisoners locked away than pass legislation that appears soft on crime.

To read more: http://thecrimereport.org/2010/04/27/ohio-prison-crowding-at-crisis-stage/

No comments:

Post a Comment