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May 10, 2009

"Ohio lawmakers mull sweeping reform to cut prison populations"

The title of this post is the headline of this local article providing a window into the ways in which lean economic times are impacting prison nation and the usual debates over balancing budgets and public safety. Here is an excerpt:

With a near-record 50,919 inmates behind bars as of May 4, Gov. Ted Strickland said he has no choice but to start releasing people because the state can't afford it. His proposal isn't just a scare tactic.

Ohio lawmakers are considering sweeping prison reform in which prisoners will be sent to live in halfway houses in communities -- or be paroled to a house down the block. Many more will never set foot in a prison under a proposal to amend sentencing laws so some crimes are no longer considered serious enough to warrant prison.

Strickland predicts his proposed changes could reduce the prison population by 6,736 indefinitely and save state taxpayers almost $28 million per year....

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction director Terry Collins pledges the plan is "smart on crime." Violent inmates and sex offenders will stay behind bars, he promises.... Collins recently told legislators that if the state doesn't pass reforms, he might recommend emergency release of prisoners.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said the answer is simple: more money for prisons. Opponents like Deters say no one should get out before a judge says so.  The plan compromises public safety for the sake of a balanced budget, they say.

Deters is vehemently against releasing offenders to free up prison beds to avoid situations like parolee and career criminal Anthony Kirkland -- out of prison just five months -- being charged with strangling 13-year-old Esme Kenney as she ran in her Cincinnati-area neighborhood in March.

Deters sent letters to every state legislator urging them to vote against changes to Ohio's sentencing laws. "The legislature's first responsibility should be to secure public safety -- not to undermine it," he wrote.

May 10, 2009 at 08:08 AM | Permalink


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Research project: If economic downturns are associated with increased crime rates, is that caused by the stealthy release of prisoners/decrease in incarceration rates?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 10, 2009 8:43:43 AM

So the Governor says Ohio cannot afford the current number of prisoners and the prosecutor responds that the simple answer is more money for prisons. How thoughtful.

Posted by: anon | May 10, 2009 9:40:15 AM


The cogency of his thought can be attested to by this, "being charged with strangling 13-year-old Esme Kenney as she ran in her Cincinnati-area neighborhood in March."

Because of course smart societies make public policy based on the ability to prevent the one in 10 million occurrence. I dunno, why didn't I see this before. Obama needs to propose spending 100 trillion dollars on the "Killer Comet from Alpha Centuri Space Deflection Shield." That will stimulate the economy.

Posted by: Daniel | May 10, 2009 10:14:42 AM

The lawyer may start by emptying the prisons of innocent people. If the rate on death row is assumed to be 20%, what is the rate in the ordinary criminal trial or in the plea bargain. The lawyer is a total incompetent.

Next, end the laws without harm to a victim. Allow adult pleasures to those who do no harm, and suffer no harm themselves.

Then execute the dangerous prisoners, so they are gone and can harm no more people.

The lawyer is an idiot, a dangerous, incompetent idiot.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 10, 2009 10:55:54 AM

Rather than "The lawyer is an idiot, a dangerous, incompetent idiot" the problem is more likely our adversarial system. Does our Constitution require an adversarial system? Anyone know?

Posted by: George | May 10, 2009 12:33:44 PM

The lawyer may start with a native intelligence of a 300 IQ. After 1L, he is a blithering idiot, spouting supernatural, Medieval garbage core doctrines, and believing this is the best legal system in the world. You try to tell him, minds cannot be read. Future rare accidents cannot be forecast any more than a winning lottery number. Twelve strangers off the street, after excluding all with knowledge, cannot detect the truth by their gut feelings. They can only detect the more likable of the two lawyers. There is no chain of causation in nature. Conduct cannot be set by fictional characters with the personality of Mickey Mouse. And if the word, reasonable, means, in accordance with the New Testament, it violates the Establishment Clause. Rent seeking cannot remain as the sole success of the lawyer profession.

Despite a native IQ of 300, the lawyer has been made stupider than a special ed student. He is totally hobbled by the wrongful legal education.

Meanwhile the rule of law is an essential utility product, with every goal of every law subject in utter failure.

Just obey the Constitution. Get rid of this awful hierarchy. Stop the rent seeking. The profession would be great (not sarcastic), as it needs to be.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 10, 2009 2:54:35 PM

Doug, your link to the story is bad.

Also, IMO you should delete every off-topic SC post that begins with the words "The lawyer." These comment strings are becoming unreadable.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | May 11, 2009 9:23:57 AM

Well, Grits, at least Supremacy Claus makes no bones about what he's doing. Your appeal for civility rings hollow, given your sniping at me about turning the clock back to 1868.

Posted by: federalist | May 11, 2009 12:46:45 PM


Posted by: Jay Macke | May 11, 2009 4:27:23 PM

Interesting report, www.vfc-oh.org/cms/resource_library/files/1f684d106984a3d8/index.html/ - Excerpts: Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections Ohio House of Representatives House Finance & Appropriations: Transportation and Justice Subcommittee Testimony on Community Corrections Funding within the Budgets of the Ohio Departments of Rehabilitation & Correction and Youth Services March 12, 2009 Presented by: Gayle Dittmer, President Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections Introduction Good Morning Chairman Ujvagi and members of the House Finance and Appropriations’ Transportation and Justice Subcommittee. My name is Gayle Dittmer and I am the Chief Probation Officer for the Franklin County Adult Probation Department. I am here both as the President of the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections (OJACC), and as a practitioner in the field of community corrections for the past 24 years. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today concerning the need for funding in adult and juvenile community corrections, which can lead to a reduction in recidivism, cost savings for the state, and increased public safety in our local communities. OJACC is a nonprofit coalition of local elected officials and correctional providers working together to develop, improve, expand, and promote adult and juvenile community corrections. We are an umbrella organization bringing together judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, pretrial/probation officers, law enforcement, corrections officials, community corrections and treatment professionals to work toward the common goals of community interventions for both juvenile and adult offenders. We understand that the fiscal crisis has required the General Assembly to find ways to reduce spending. Community corrections programs have proven to be successful in saving Ohio taxpayers by reducing recidivism, maintaining public safety and saving untold human potential. Dramatic Rise in Ohio’s Prison Population Ohio’s adult prison population has increased dramatically over the last few decades with no relief in sight. In 1984, the Ohio prison population was 18,479. According to recent testimony by Director Collins before the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, the Ohio prison population is currently at 50,719 inmates. This represents an increase of 175% from 1984, with projected growth to 60,000 inmates by 2018. In regards to costs, using the FY08 cost per F3, F4, F5 Inmate; by FY 2018 Ohio could be paying $209,564,980 (*) more than we paid in FY08. These figures do not take into consideration future inflation or capital costs such as renovations of facilities, expansion of facilities or the cost to construct new facilities. Conversely, even if only half of the 9,281 projected new inmates were to be diverted to a community corrections program at a savings of $18,143 per inmate, Ohio could actually enjoy a potential cost savings of $84,201,663 (**)

Posted by: | May 12, 2009 9:06:30 PM

I am all for this my husband is in prison for RSP and theft he hurt nobody he was the driver and that was all he got 22 months in prison and was ripped from our lifes and his kids life and they need him home we live in Lucas County in Toledo and I would really love it if this got passed we need him home very bad

Posted by: Jenny Baldridge | May 20, 2009 2:51:24 PM

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