Budgets across the nation are tight. States spend exorbitant amounts on locking up their citizens. So much that the United States incarcerates people at the highest rate in the world. But balancing a budget might mean slowing down on the locking up as this report from the Dayton Daily News.
The article cites the Center for Economic Policy Research when it states that governments could save 25% if they were “to place half of their non-violent criminals on probation and parole instead of in prisons and jails.” While this number is hard to argue with, not many people are too keen on freeing those people currently locked up.
Ohio’s correction budget stands at $1.78 billion. We incarcerate about 51,000 men and women though our institutions only have the capacity for 38,665. But when lawmakers start discussing the release of inmates or relaxing sentencing policies, they are accused of putting the public at risk.
Interestingly, 28% of new male inmates in 2009 were sentenced for drug offenses, not violent crimes. And while no one wants drugs in their communities, we simply don’t have the resources to continue locking people up at such alarming rates.
Although being “tough on crime” is popular, the sentiment has driven prison populations through the roof and has done nothing to reduce recidivism. Because the broken and highly expensive system isn’t working, you would think people would be more willing to see it changed.
Typically, probation is reserved for those people who are first time non-violent criminals. Things like minor drug offenses, bad checks, and small theft cases are common in the probation department. As the seriousness of your offense and the length of your criminal history increases, so do your chances of prison time.
While the budget is an important matter, and changing sentencing practices is too, we can’t exactly ask a judge to give you probation to save the taxpayers’ money. However, as your attorney, I could argue that you pose no risk to the community and that your rehabilitation would be far more productive on probation than locked away in prison.
Whether you are facing OVI, drug charges, or something more serious like assault—we can help. Contact our attorneys today to discuss the details of your case. I can help you determine if you might be a good candidate for probation within a short amount of time.