Ohio prisons, like others around the country, are overcrowded and understaffed. Many states are looking for ways to alleviate this pressure on the Corrections system. Here in Ohio, Terry Collins, the Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, is suggesting lawmakers relax sentencing on non-violent drug offenders.
Ohio wouldn’t be the first state to look at their drug laws and reconsider harsh sentencing practices that have been in use over the past 3 decades. The war on drugs, which according to Collins we have already lost, has resulted in thousands of non-violent offenders being put away for years, further stressing the Department.
In this Columbus Dispatch article, Collins went before state legislators and states that sentencing laws must be re-examined or the state may have to close another prison in 2011 just to keep up with costs and personnel.
Offenders convicted of drug offenses who have no violent criminal history would likely be better served in a community corrections setting involving treatment and probation. Exposing them to the prison system only further hardens them and weakens the overcrowded system.
Currently the legislators are looking at changing the rate and manner at which convicted offenders receive good time (credit for good behavior) in order to shorten the actual length of time they spend behind bars.
Currently, Ohio does have fairly strict drug laws, created to deter and prevent potential drug offenders. In writing these laws legislators attempted to get tough on drug crimes and set an example. Unfortunately, however, incarceration increases the chance of recidivism and these offenders with drug problems are less likely to tackle their addictions while sheltered in a prison with violent criminals.
Facing drug charges and knowing you may end up in one of these overcrowded prisons can be extremely nerve-wracking. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges in the state of Ohio, an experienced attorney can benefit the case in many ways. Call today to discuss the details of your case.