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Justice Reinvestment in Ohio, Justice Center Council of State Govts, 2009

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December 2009

Justice Reinvestment
in Ohio
Reducing Spending on
Corrections and Reinvesting in
Strategies to Increase Public Safety

Background

I

n 2008, Governor Ted Strickland,
Senate President Bill Harris, then-House
Speaker Jon Husted, and Supreme Court Chief
Justice Thomas Moyer requested technical
assistance from the Council of State Governments Justice Center (“Justice Center”) to help
develop a statewide policy framework to reduce
spending on corrections and reinvest in strategies to increase public safety.
The Justice Center is a national nonprofit,
nonpartisan organization that works with state
policymakers to analyze data and develop fiscally sound strategies to increase public safety.
Assistance is made possible through funding
support provided by the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States;
the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component

of the U.S. Department of Justice; and the State
of Ohio.
To guide the Justice Center’s analyses of the
state’s criminal justice system and development of policy options, the state has established
a justice reinvestment work group, co-chaired
by Senator Bill Seitz (R-Green Township) and
Representative Mike Moran (D-Hudson).
Members represent both parties and all three
branches of state government, including the
two chambers of the General Assembly. The
work group will review data analyses from the
Justice Center and identify policy options to
address the projected growth in Ohio’s prison
population, generate savings and reinvest in
strategies to increase public safety.

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio



Snapshot of Corrections and
Criminal Justice Trends in Ohio

The Ohio prison population is growing,
which is driving significant increases in
spending on corrections.
•	 Although the Ohio prison population declined
from 1998 to 2004, in the next three years the population increased 16 percent, from 44,270 in 2005
to a new all-time high of 51,273 in 2008.1
•	 The number of people admitted to prison annually
in Ohio has increased by 41 percent between 2000
and 2008, from 19,418 to 27,315.2
•	 Ohio’s prison population exceeds the corrections
system’s rated capacity of 38,665 by 30 percent.3
•	 Between FY 2000 and FY 2008, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC)
budget grew 18 percent, an increase of approximately $239 million.4
•	 One in four state employees in Ohio works for the
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Ohio’s property crime rate exceeds the
regional and national average.

•	 Despite recent declines, Ohio’s property crime rate
in 2008 (3,412 crimes per 100,000 persons) was
still higher than the average rate for the Midwest
(3,067) and the nation (3,213).6
•	 Between 2000 and 2008, burglaries increased 14
percent and robberies increased 18 percent in
Ohio, adjusting for population trends.7

If existing policies remain unchanged,
the prison population will grow, which
will require the state to build additional
prisons and spend more on corrections.
•	 Between 2008 and 2018, the prison population
is projected to climb 9 percent, from 51,273 to
55,734.8
•	 To house the growing prison population and ease
crowding the state will need to spend $925 million in additional cumulative spending by 2018 to
increase the capacity of the prison system by 5,330
beds. These estimates include $424 million in construction costs and $501 million in annual operating costs.9

•	 Between 2000 and 2008, Ohio’s violent crime rate
increased a modest 4 percent.5

1. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, personal communication to the Council of State Governments Justice Center. (June 25,
2009); Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Pieces of the
Puzzle: 2008 Annual Report, http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/Reports/
Annual/Annual%20Report%202008.pdf, 24..
2. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. “Fiscal Year Intake
and Population on July 1, 1971-2008.” (October 2008), http://www.
drc.state.oh.us/web/Reports/intake/Fiscal%20Year%20Intake%20a
nd%20Population%20on%20July%201%20(1971%20-%202008).pdf
(accessed September 16, 2009).
3. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Pieces of the
Puzzle: 2008 Annual Report, http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/Reports/
Annual/Annual%20Report%202008.pdf, p. 24. The ODRC official rated
capacity is 38,665. See http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/Reports/FactSheet/September%202009.pdf.
4. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, personal communication to the Council of State Governments Justice Center. (October 15, 2009). ODRC budget numbers consist of General Revenue Funds
(GRF) in order to represent the state share of spending on corrections.



Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

5,6. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime
in the United States, 2008 (September 2009), http://www.fbi.gov/
ucr/cius2008/offenses/standard_links/state.html. The Federal Bureau
of Investigation Uniform Crime Report (UCR) groups Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota,
Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin in the Midwest. See http://www.
fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/about/area_definitions.html.
7. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in
the United States, 2000 (September 2001), http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/
00cius.htm (accessed September 16, 2009); U.S. Department of Justice,
Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2008 (September 2009), http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/offenses/standard_
links/state.html.
8. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Brian Martin.
“Ohio Prison Population Projections and Intake Estimates, July 2009,”
p. 3.
9. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Kevin Stockdale
and Douglas Forbes. “Capital and Operating Costs of Two 2,000 Bed Prisons.” Personal communication to Council of State Governments Justice
Center (November 6, 2009).

The Justice Center’s Three Phases of Assistance
Justice Center experts will provide technical assistance to
Ohio policymakers in three phases.

phase

1

Analysis and
Policy Development

The Justice Center will comprehensively analyze
Ohio’s crime, arrest, court disposition, probation
and post-release control, jail, prison, and recidivism data. This system-wide analysis will examine the effectiveness of various components of the
criminal justice system and identify key drivers of
the prison population and opportunities to improve
the system’s ability to increase public safety.
To incorporate perspectives and recommendations from across the criminal justice system, the
Justice Center will engage stakeholders through
focus groups, site visits, and personal interviews.
Examples of stakeholders include judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, law enforcement,
advocates and service providers for victims and
survivors, county officials, probation officials, community corrections agency representatives, and
others.
In collaboration with the work group, which will
review these analyses, the Justice Center will
develop consensus-based policy options that
increase public safety and address the key factors
behind Ohio’s escalating prison population and
corrections expenditures.
A team of experts in health systems and services
policy will analyze programs and services for people
with behavioral health treatment needs who come
into contact with the criminal justice system.

phase

2

Policy
Implementation

To ensure that policies are implemented effectively,
the Justice Center will provide technical assistance
to state agencies and perform regular assessments
of implementation progress. Policymakers will
therefore be able to identify necessary adjustments
to policies and strategies to ensure intended goals
are achieved.
In addition, the Justice Center will develop a dashboard tracking mechanism to measure the impact
of newly enacted policies on crime, court dispositions, jail populations, the prison population, and
recidivism rates.

phase

3

Accountability
Strategies

Policymakers, with the assistance of regular presentations from the Justice Center, will create
accountability measures for the multiple agencies responsible for policy implementation. Continual monitoring of the dashboard and other
accountability measures will help Ohio ensure that
achievements are sustained and savings generated
are reinvested to foster safer and stronger communities.

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio



To learn more about the justice reinvestment strategy
in Ohio and other states, please visit:
www.justicereinvestment.org

The Council of State Governments Justice Center is a national nonprofit organization that serves policymakers at the local, state,
and federal levels from all branches of government. The Justice Center provides practical, nonpartisan advice and consensus-driven
strategies, informed by available evidence, to increase public safety and strengthen communities.

Bureau of Justice Assistance
U.S. Department of Justice

This project was supported by Grant No. 2008-DD-BX-0685
awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of
Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics,
the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of
Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those
of the author and do not represent the official position or
policies of the United State Department of Justice.
To learn more about the Bureau of Justice Assistance,
please visit: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/.

Research and analysis described in this report also have been
funded by the Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew
Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States. Launched in 2006 as
a project of the Pew Center on the States, the Public Safety
Performance Project seeks to help states advance fiscally
sound, data-driven policies and practices in sentencing
and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders
accountable, and control corrections costs.
To learn more about the Public Safety Performance
Project, please visit: http://www.pewpublicsafety.org/.

Points of view, recommendations, or findings stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the
official position or policies of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Council of
State Governments Justice Center, or the Council of State Governments’ members.
Suggested citation: Council of State Governments Justice Center, Justice Reinvestment in Ohio: Reducing Spending on Corrections and
Reinvesting in Strategies to Increase Public Safety (New York: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2009).

Council of State Governments
Justice Center
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20th Floor
New York, NY 10005
tel:	 212-482-2320
fax:	 212-482-2344

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Suite 650
Bethesda, MD 20814
tel:	 301-760-2401
fax:	 240-497-0568

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Austin, TX 78701
tel:	 512-482-8298
fax:	 512-474-5011

www.justicecenter.csg.org



Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

project contact:
Marc Pelka
646-383-5720
mpelka@csg.org

 

 

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