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July 26, 2010

Heading off to hear about how Ohio should reinvest in justice

I am about to head off-line for the day to attend a conference at which the Council of State Governments' Justice Center will present its first findings as part of Ohio's involvement in CSG's Justice Reinvestment project.  This AP article, which is headlined "Ohio's probation system called costly, ineffective," previews what I am going to be hearing about through the day:

Ohio's probation system is a jumble of overlapping and fragmented agencies without common rules for improving the way the state treats offenders under supervision, according to a report to be released today.

The study also says that offenders who commit minor drug and property crimes are often supervised for years, while inmates who pose a high risk to public safety are released from prison without supervision.

The study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center also confirms something that Ohio officials have known for years: A large number of offenders cycle through prisons with sentences of just a few months each, placing a costly burden on an already-strapped agency.

One reason for the cycling is that the minimum sentence for lower-level felonies is six months in Ohio; it is one year in many other states. The Ohio study, to be unveiled at a daylong symposium, found that only four of every 10 inmates serving short sentences have a low risk of offending again. Two of every three are property-crime or drug offenders and have two or fewer prior convictions.

July 26, 2010 at 09:06 AM | Permalink


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There is no evading it. It is the status of the person that counts, and status crimes should return.

Some murderers should go home, some shoplifters should be executed, if the sole mature aim of the criminal law is to be fulfilled, safety through incapacitation. And the status of the person may only be determined by counting the repetitions of behaviors. That means the sentencing is based on non-adjudicated, prior conduct, up to 90% weight.

If the defendant is a well known drug kingpin who has murdered hundreds of people, but the charge is shoplifting a pack of gum. The sentence should be death, since another opportunity to protect the public may not return. The veracity of the charge should be adjudicated, but the sentencing should be left to crime prevention professionals, in the executive branch, with professional liability to the defendant and to future victim of their prisoners.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 26, 2010 2:30:17 PM

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