Criminal Justice

Legislative Priority: Reduce the overflowing prison population


In the 2011-2012 session, legislators passed sentencing reform legislation, a good first step in criminal justice reform. However, Ohio prisons are still at 128% capacity. In a recent article, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Mohr predicted that overcrowding could rise to 154.1%, if the department were to take a 10% budget cut[1].

The ACLU of Ohio recommends the following policy changes which will reduce the prison population:

  • Increase the number of earned credit opportunities for eligible inmates.[2]
  • Increase diversion of low-level non-violent offenders into substance abuse and mental health programs.
  • Release aging state prisoners who pose no substantial public safety threat through age-based parole programs.
  • Increase educational and rehabilitative programming in prison to jumpstart the reentry process and ensure lower recidivism rates.

[1] Johnson, A (December 10, 2012). Four Ohio prisons face possibility of closure under budget cuts. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved from

[2] Johnson, A. (January 7, 2013). Drug use in Ohio’s prisons spiked in ’12. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved from