Ohio Saves On Prison Costs, Nonviolent Criminals Save On Prison Time

In an effort to cut back on costs and to offer a more flexible approach to nonviolent criminals caught in its prison system, the Ohio Senate passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would comprehensively reform the state’s criminal sentencing system, clearing the way for the measure’s passage into law. Currently, the state’s prisons already house 34 percent more inmates than the system was originally designed for, many of whom are nonviolent criminals. If passed, the new laws will provide prisoners more options to lessen their sentences through education, job training, drug treatment and other community-based corrections programs. Such measures, when pursued instead of incarceration, are predicted to save the state $78 million each year in prison costs. “Every dollar we spend on packing our prisons with non-violent offenders is a dollar less than we can spend on schools or health services,” said Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus (R). “We need to fix this problem before it drives our budget to another breaking point.”

Sarah Bufkin