Criminal Sentencing Reform Bill amendments approved by House

(FOX19) - The Ohio House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve the Senate amendments to House Bill 86, a comprehensive set of reforms that strive to overhaul Ohio's criminal sentencing laws.

House Bill 86 aims to more successfully address prison population growth and streamline court, jail, and prison operations. It also includes the recommendations of the Council of State Governments Justice Reinvestment Project to help address skyrocketing corrections costs and high recidivism rates.

"Continuing this legislature's effort to save tax dollars and improve the way our state government operates, we today approved a bill that will significantly reform our criminal justice system," said Speaker Pro Tempore Lou Blessing (R-Cincinnati), who sponsored House Bill 86. "I applaud the hard work and careful consideration of both the House and Senate and sincerely appreciate the widespread support this bill has garnered."

According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Ohio's prison population is projected to increase to more than 40 percent over capacity by 2015. Currently, state prisons are filled to 33 percent over capacity, holding nearly 13,000 more individuals than they were designed to hold.

House Bill 86 would address this burgeoning problem through community programs that more effectively rehabilitate low-level offenders and reduce recidivism rates at a more affordable cost to the taxpayers. It will also improve probation supervision and reduce duplication of resources.

House Bill 86 will now move to the Governor's Office, where it awaits the signature of Governor John Kasich.

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