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July 15, 2007

The inevitability of incarceration alternatives

0714_2ndchance_prisoners_mn_071507_ My local paper, here in bellwether Columbus, Ohio, has this article that spotlights why rising prison populations make exploration of alternatives to incarceration inevitable for many states.  Here are snippets from the article:

Five years after Ohio officials linked arms to beat back a campaign to treat nonviolent drug offenders instead of incarcerating them, a prison population explosion is causing them to revisit the idea.  A bill crafted by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction appears headed for passage this fall. It has bipartisan support from top legislative leaders as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Among its many provisions, the bill would give judges far more latitude in sentencing nonviolent offenders to drug and alcohol treatment or to community programs instead of prison.... Prisons chief Terry Collins hopes that section and other parts of the bill will relieve growing pressure on a system 32 percent over capacity....

The week starting June 4 shows the urgency of the population problem. During that week, a record 308 inmates were added to the prison system.  Last week, there were 49,513 inmates in state institutions, slightly less than the all-time record set last month but 12.3 percent higher than just two years ago. The system is built to accommodate about 37,000.  Collins has opened unused wings and buildings in existing institutions, but short of reopening closed prisons -- which he does not intend to do -- he has few options, other than diverting new prisoners from coming in or sending more home.

July 15, 2007 at 10:15 AM | Permalink


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A blog invitation ---
Prison Alternatives

Posted by: Gracetowne | Jul 29, 2007 11:47:28 PM

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