This week Governor John Kasich is expected to sign a monumental piece of criminal justice legislation into law, The Plain Dealer reports. The bill, which drew significant support from both parties, will send low-level nonviolent felons to rehabilitation facilities in lieu of prison, put a credit-earned system in place, and adjust prison sentences for drug and petty theft offenses. The package was proposed as a means to save money, reduce recidivism, and ease overcrowding.
Ohio’s corrections department is currently operating at roughly 136% of capacity. “These proposals will begin to address the problem of low-level offenders cycling through the prison system while reserving scarce and expensive state prison beds for violent and predatory offenders” said Gary Mohr, Ohio’s Director of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
Interestingly, although the reform package is expected to provide savings of around $46 million, Gov. Kasich strongly insists that the measures were not just designed to aid the ailing budget, but to help those who get trapped in the system, and create a safer society. “These reforms will make our communities safer by putting…offenders in more fitting corrections environments with the goal of preventing them from becoming career criminals” said Kasich.