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Justice Center Justice Reinvestment in Ohio Summary Report 2010

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July 26, 2010

Justice Reinvestment
in Ohio
Summary Report of Analyses



N LATE 2008, GOVERNOR TED STRICKland, Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland),
then House Speaker Jon Husted (R-Kettering),
and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas
Moyer requested technical assistance from the
Council of State Governments Justice Center
to help develop a statewide policy framework to
reduce spending on corrections and reinvest in
strategies to increase public safety.

The CSG Justice Center collected and analyzed vast amounts of state criminal justice, mental health, and substance abuse data, drawing on
information systems maintained by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Alcohol
and Drug Addiction Services, the Supreme Court,
and county probation departments—as well as the
FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

In January 2010, to guide the CSG Justice Center’s analysis of the state’s criminal justice system and development of policy options, Governor
Strickland, Senate President Harris, current House
Speaker Armond Budish (D-Beachwood), Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard),
and House Minority Leader William Batchelder
(R-Medina) announced the “Justice Reinvestment Working Group,” which Senator Bill Seitz
(R-Green Township) and Representative Mike
Moran (D-Hudson) co-chair and which includes a
bipartisan, inter-branch group of state lawmakers,
state agency directors, and Ohio Supreme Court

In addition to these quantitative analyses, the
CSG Justice Center convened dozens of focus
groups, interviewing hundreds of people from
across the criminal justice system, including
judges, prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys,
law enforcement, probation and parole/postrelease control, community corrections administrators, and others. Additional stakeholders consulted
included victim advocates, county officials, behavioral health treatment providers, and many others.
This report provides a brief summary of the preliminary findings. The working group will review
these findings to begin developing a policy framework for the General Assembly’s consideration.

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


Key Findings

A.	Property and drug offenders in Ohio cycle through a costly
“revolving door”: they are sentenced to state prison for a
short time and are subsequently released to the community
with no supervision.
	 More than 10,000 fourth and fifth degree felony property and drug offenders were
sentenced to state prison in 2008 for an average of nine months at a cost of $189 million. After serving brief sentences, 72 percent were returned to the community with
no supervision.

B.	Community correction programs in Ohio do not have clear
criteria to inform the selection of program participants,
making it difficult for these programs to be cost-effective
tools for diverting people from prison and reducing crime.
	 The state invests over $130 million annually in diversion programs, but does not
provide any data-driven selection criteria for program participants. Without such
criteria, judges cannot be certain they are sentencing people to programs from which
they will benefit the most.

C.	Ohio’s probation system is a patchwork of independent
agencies that do not have consistent policies.
	 At the end of 2008, an estimated 260,000 people in Ohio were on probation and
supervised by one or more municipal, county, or state agencies. The operations of
these agencies overlap and are uncoordinated. Training and supervision standards
vary significantly, and no meaningful data are collected statewide to provide policymakers information about the overall effectiveness of the probation system.


Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

I.	 Crime
Between 2000 and 2008, the violent
crime rate remained fairly stable.1
•	 Ohio’s violent crime rate fluctuated slightly
between 334 and 352 crimes per 100,000 residents
during this period, but it remained well below the
2008 national violent crime rate of 456 crimes per

Property crime in Ohio has decreased.
•	 Ohio’s property crime rate, consistent with trends
across the region and the country, fell 8 percent
from 2000 to 2008.
•	 Despite this decline, Ohio’s property crime rate
(3,412 crimes per 100,000) remained higher than
the national average (3,213 crimes per 100,000) in

II.	 Probation
Ohio has a large number of people on
probation but key information about
the system, particularly regarding
individual departments, is unknown
•	 The most recent data available describing the total
number of people on probation in Ohio comes
from surveys conducted by the US Department of
Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) for 2008.
That report indicated that Ohio had 57,214 felony
probationers, 152,900 misdemeanor probationers,
and 50,610 on probation for whom the offense
level was not reported to BJS.3

1. Comparisons between 2000 and 2008 in reported crime are all based
on data from the following sources: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal
Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the United States, 2000” (September
2001),; U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the United States, 2008”
(September 2009),
2. Unless otherwise noted, reported crime rates are compared between
2000 and 2008.

•	 The number of people on probation in Ohio
increased 34 percent from 194,875 in 2000 to
260,962 in 2008. No other Midwest state experienced a similar growth rate in its probation population over this time period.
•	 Ohio, at 2,917 probationers per 100,000 adults, has
a higher percentage of its adult residents under
probation supervision than other large states in
the Midwest: Illinois (1,471), Indiana (2,646),
Michigan (2,392), or Wisconsin (1,237).4

A patchwork of independent agencies, operated at the state, county, and
municipal level, supervises people on
probation in Ohio.
•	 The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) provides probation supervision
services in 47 counties, which account for approximately 20 percent of the felony probation population. In the remaining 41 counties, where 80
percent of the felony probation population resides,
county-administered departments operate probation agencies.
•	 Municipal probation departments (within each
county there are often multiple municipal probation departments) supervise people on probation
for misdemeanor offenses.
•	 It is not unusual for offenders to be assigned to
both misdemeanor and felony probation and, consequently, report to two different officers in two
separate probation departments.5

3. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. “Probation
and Parole in the United States, 2008.” (December 2009), http://bjs.
4. Ibid.
5. Fifty-three percent of Court of Common Pleas chief probation officers
responding to a web survey indicated this occurred in their jurisdictions.
At focus groups with chief probation officers, probation department site
visits, and elsewhere, this observation was mentioned.

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


Because the probation system is so
decentralized, policies and practices
vary significantly from one agency to
the next.
•	 Minimum qualifications for probation officers,
lengths of mandatory pre- and in-service training,
and data collection and reporting requirements
vary widely among probation agencies in the state.
•	 Many probation departments do not use evidencebased practices that have been shown to reduce
recidivism rates, such as risk-based probation
caseloads with appropriate contact standards and
unified systems of progressive sanctions to manage offender non-compliance.

ers vary from one probation department to the
next. Instruments currently in use include the
following: the ODRC’s Ohio Parole Authority’s
instrument, the LSI-R, the Wisconsin Risk Assessment, and a self-appraisal questionnaire.7
•	 In a web-based survey of Common Pleas judges,
one-quarter of the respondents indicated that probation policies and procedures vary even within
their counties, where individual felony court
judges set their own rules governing probation.
•	 Seventy percent of Common Pleas judges responding to the survey stated they do not receive data
indicating who among people they sentence to
probation was revoked and who successfully completed probation.

•	 Depending on the probation agency, the number
of monthly officer-probationer contacts across
risk level ranges from two to twenty contacts for
maximum risk probationers, from one to nine for
Survey of State, County, and
medium risk, and from
Municipal Probation Agencies6
one every three months to
four every month for minimum risk probationers.
•	 Risk assessment instruments used for probation-



Is mandatory officer pre-service
training required?

64 %

36 %

Is a written system of progressive
sanctions guidelines in place?

38 %

62 %

Is a risk assessment instrument used?

73 %

27 %

Are contact standards associated
with risk level?

64 %

36 %

6. The CSG Justice Center web-based survey was distributed through
the Ohio Chief Probation Officers Association from March 10 through
24, 2010. Thirty-one departments completed all sections of the survey: twenty-one Court of Common Pleas departments (felony and
misdemeanor supervision), and ten Municipal Court departments (misdemeanor supervision only).


Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

7. The ODRC, in consultation with the University of Cincinnati, is currently piloting the Ohio Risk and Needs Assessment System (ORAS) in
certain jurisdictions. It is expected to be made available statewide in
2011. Currently, there is no legislative mandate for statewide utilization.

III.	State-Funded Community Correction Programs
Using state funding, public and private
agencies deliver community correction
programs to people on probation and
people under post-release supervision.
•	 As state funding for community corrections has
increased in recent years, ODRC has taken steps
to ensure these programs demonstrate successful results. To that end, ODRC has commissioned
outcome evaluation studies of the programs from
the University of Cincinnati (UC).8
•	 Results of these studies, which have shown that
some programs are reducing offender recidivism while others are actually increasing it, have

prompted ODRC to terminate certain contracts
for failure to implement evidence-based programming, and to grade CBCF and HWH programs
based on recidivism outcomes, successful completions, and other measures.
•	 Although the mixed results these programs have
yielded are well-documented, no comprehensive
study has been able to document whether those
people sentenced to community correction programs would otherwise have been sentenced to
jail or prison. Without standardized sentencing or
probation data, or admission criteria, it will remain
difficult to determine what percent of program
participants were diverted from jail or prison.

Community Correction Programs
Ohio is recognized across the country for its extensive network of state-funded community correction
programs to which adults are sentenced in lieu of jail or prison. The programs include Community
Correction Act programs (prison and jail diversion), halfway houses, and community-based
correctional facilities.

Prison and jail diversion programs are non-residential and controlled by the local corrections
planning board in each jurisdiction and administered by county or city officials. The range of
programs includes intensive supervision probation, electronic monitoring, work release, and day


Halfway houses (HWHs) are community residential programs providing supervision and treatment
services, such as drug and alcohol treatment, job placement, educational programs, and
specialized programs for people with mental illness. HWHs serve people who are released from
state prison or sentenced there directly by courts. They also serve people who are found in violation
of probation or in violation of parole/post-release control.


Community-based correctional facilities (CBCFs) are secure residential facilities with a maximum
length of stay of 180 days. CBCFs almost entirely serve offenders who are directly sentenced by the
court or who are found in violation of probation.


In FY 2010, the state invested $136.6 million in these programs, including $21.9 million for prison
diversion, $11.1 million for jail diversion $41.1 million for HWHs, and $62.5 million for CBCFs.

8. In March 2010, UC released a two-year follow-up evaluation study on
the effectiveness of CBCFs and HWHs in reducing recidivism outcomes
between program participants and control groups. UC also conducted a

2002 evaluation study on CBCFs and HWHs and a 2005 study of prison
and jail diversion programs that is being commissioned for an updated

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


UC evaluation studies found that outcomes for people participating in community correction programs varied,
depending on offender risk level and the
recidivism measure used.9

The quality of supervision and
treatment a person receives after
leaving a residential program has a
significant impact on recidivism.

•	 UC’s findings and other research suggest that
•	 Statewide, HWH programs slightly reduced recidprison and jail-based treatment programs have
ivism and CBCFs slightly increased recidivism,
modest impacts on recidivism, particularly when
when looking at outcomes for all participants in
compared to the results associated with effective
the programs and not just those who successnon-residential community-based treatment.
fully completed them.10,11 A number of CBCF and
HWH programs have demonstrated an ability to
reduce recidivism rates by large percentages, but
the impact of these programs was offset by others
that failed to reduce recidivism
or increased recidivism rates for
Impact of CBCF Programs on Recidivism Rates
•	 Low risk offenders placed in
either HWHs or CBCFs showed
the worst outcomes, with recidivism increases between 3 and 10
percentage points, depending on
the measure (new felony conviction, any new conviction, or new
•	 CBCFs and HWHs achieved the
best outcomes among the highrisk population, with recidivism
reductions up to 5 percentage
points, depending on the measure used.13
•	 Although the impact of these programs on recidivism frequently
corresponds to the participants’
risk level, sentencing courts and
the Ohio Parole Board assign
people of all risk levels to these

by Risk Level

Percentage point change in rate of recidivism for all participants.
Shaded numbers indicate reduction in recidivism.



Low Risk




Medium Risk




High Risk




+ 2.6



All Participants

Note: CBCF participants compared to a matched group of individuals on intensive probation supervision.

Impact of Halfway House Programs on
Recidivism Rates by Risk Level
Percentage point change in rate of recidivism for all participants.
Shaded numbers indicate reduction in recidivism.



Low Risk




Medium Risk




High Risk




All Participants

- 1.5



Note: HWH participants compared to a matched group of parolees or people on post-release control.

9. The UC study uses a two-year follow-up timeframe to track three measures of recidivism: a new felony conviction, any new conviction, and a
new incarceration.
10. Latessa, Lovins, and Smith, “Follow-up Evaluation of Ohio’s Community Based Correctional Facility and Halfway House Programs—Outcome Study,” Table 11: “Mean Recidivism Rates for the CBCF/ISP Sample
by Risk—All Participants—Measured by New Felony Conviction,” (p. 73);
Table 12: “Mean Recidivism Rates…Measured by Any New Conviction,”
(p.75); and Table 13: “Mean Recidivism Rates…Measured by New Incarceration” (p. 76),


Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

11. Ibid. Table 29: “Mean Recidivism Rates for All HWH Participants by
Referral Type and Risk.” (p. 107).
12,13. Latessa, Lovins, and Smith. “Follow-up Evaluation of Ohio’s Community Based Correctional Facility and Halfway House Programs—Outcome Study.” Table 11: “Mean Recidivism Rates for the CBCF/ISP Sample
by Risk—All Participants—Measured by New Felony Conviction,” (p. 73);
Table 12: “Mean Recidivism Rates…Measured by Any New Conviction,”
(p.75); and Table 13: “Mean Recidivism Rates…Measured by New Incarceration,” (p. 76); Table 29: “Mean Recidivism Rates for All HWH Participants by Referral Type and Risk.” (p. 107).

IV.	Behavioral Health: Mental Health and
Substance Use Treatment Services
Many law enforcement officers are
trained in effective responses to
people with mental illnesses, but lack
community resources to connect this
population with treatment.

A large percentage of people on
probation need behavioral health
treatment, but resources are
insufficient to meet this demand for

•	 Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), a specialized police-based response to people with mental illnesses, has been provided to over 3,700 law
enforcement officers in Ohio employed by 350
agencies spanning 74 counties.

•	 County- and state-operated probation departments
do not have a unified database to collect information regarding probationers’ behavioral health
needs. The absence of such information hinders
efforts to make data-driven budgetary and programmatic decisions to address the mental health
and substance use disorder needs of the probation

•	 In Ohio, CIT has demonstrated positive results,
helping law enforcement de-escalate encounters
with people with mental illnesses who are in crisis: encounters involving CIT officers are more
likely to result in transport to treatment (62 percent) than custody (4 percent).14
•	 CIT programs are unable to realize their full
potential because local law enforcement officers
are often unable to connect people with mental illnesses to community-based treatment services.15
The availability of such services is limited because
of reductions in reception center hours and restrictions that prohibit community-based treatment
providers from serving people who have histories
of violence or who are intoxicated at time of arrest.

14. Teller, Munetz, Gil, and Ritter, “Crisis Intervention Team training for
Police Officers Responding to Mental Disturbance Calls.” Psychiatric Services 57L (2006) 232-237.
15. On June 8, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District, hosted a
focus group of approximately 25 chiefs and sheriffs from northern Ohio .
16. Data taken from The Ohio Intake Survey (conducted annually on a
random sample of admissions to ODRC). The sample is representative
and generalizable to the ODRC admission population. The 2008 sample
consisted of 3,212 of the 26,660 admissions to prison in 2008. Indicators of need for mental health treatment and recent drug use for new

•	 Data reflect that people admitted to prison because
they violated a condition of probation supervision
are especially likely to have mental health and/or
drug treatment needs: Thirty-six percent of people
admitted to prison because of a probation violation have mental health needs; 85 percent of such
prison admissions indicate recent drug use.16
•	 Two-thirds of probation departments report that
there are insufficient mental health resources in
their jurisdiction.17
•	 In the absence of adequate community-based
treatment services, some probation departments
have attempted to meet the needs of clients with
substance abuse disorders by creating treatment
groups, which probation officers facilitate.18

court commitments are: 30 percent for mental health and 76 percent
for recent drug use.
17. CSG Justice Center web-based survey was distributed through the
Ohio Chief Probation Officers Association in March 2010. Thirty-one
departments completed all sections of the survey: twenty-one Court of
Common Pleas departments (felony and misdemeanor supervision) and
ten Municipal Court departments (misdemeanor supervision only).
18. Focus group consisted of representatives from probation departments in Clermont, Newark, Wayne, and Ashtabula counties.

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


Judges report that because communitybased outpatient treatment programs
are unavailable they end up sentencing
people with behavioral health issues to
more expensive residential community
correction programs.
•	 In a survey of Common Pleas judges, 63 percent of
the respondents indicated that they place offenders in HWHs and CBCFs to connect them with
needed mental health or addictions programming
even if the offender — because of offense severity, risk level, or other considerations— does not
require a secure residential facility.19
•	 Seventy-four percent of judges reported that they
made this decision because of a lack of available
treatment in the community.
•	 Sixty-nine percent of judges agreed that more
behavioral health services would be effective in
increasing the number of probationers who successfully complete the terms of their sentence.

CBCF and HWH programs allocate
some resources for substance abuse
and mental health services; research
indicates, however, that providing
the same services in non-residential
settings could produce better outcomes
at less cost.
•	 Twenty-five percent of people admitted to community correction programs need mental health services, 54 percent have an indication of alcohol use,
and 65 percent have an indication of drug use.20
•	 In FY 2010, CBCFs allocated approximately $4
million (7 percent of their budget) to behavioral
health services, which included drug testing, mental health personnel, alcohol and other drug (AOD)
personnel, and counseling services.21
•	 In FY 2009, HWHs allocated approximately $8.1
million (20 percent of their budget) to AOD services, which included personnel, assessments,
drug testing, program supplies and outsourced
service costs.22
•	 A meta-analysis of drug treatment programs found
that drug treatment provided in jail settings had no
impact on recidivism, whereas community-based
drug treatment programs reduced recidivism by 8

19. CSG Justice Center web-based survey, March 2010.

22. Ibid.

20. CCIS database represents all admissions and terminations to CBCFs,
Halfway Houses, Prison diversion, and Jail Diversion programs funded
by ODRC.

23. Drake, Aos, and Miller, “Evidence-Based Public Policy Options to
Reduce Crime and Criminal Justice Costs: Implications in Washington
State,” Victims and Offenders, (2009), 4:170–196.

21. Information received from the ODRC Bureau of Community Sanctions, who determined behavioral health funding from program budget


Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

V.	 Jail Populations

VI.	 Prison Population

The total number of people in adult
jails in Ohio increased between 2000
and 2008, but not all county jails have
experienced similar rates of growth.

Between 2000 and 2008, the number
of people in state prison increased, as
have state expenditures on corrections.

•	 Ohio has 349 recognized jail facilities, which come
in 5 classifications: full-service, minimum security, 12-day, 12-hour, and temporary holding facilities.
•	 Between 2000 and 2008, the average daily population in Ohio’s jails increased 20 percent, from
17,274 to 20,706. 24

•	 The prison population climbed from 46,537 to
50,921—an increase of 9 percent—between 2000
and 2008. Most of this growth occurred between
2004 and 2008, when the total number of people
incarcerated in state prison grew 15 percent.25
•	 Annual prison admissions grew from 19,418 in
2000 to 27,315 in 2008, an increase of 41 percent.26
•	 Between 2000 and 2008, annual state spending
on corrections climbed 21 percent, from $1.04 to
$1.27 billion.27

Truth in Sentencing in Ohio
Beginning in July 1, 1996, Ohio’s truth in sentencing law shifted the sentencing system from a mixed
determinate and indeterminate one, under which the Ohio Parole Board exercised release authority and administrative good time was provided, to one that is determinate. In passing the law, state
leaders sought to ensure that judges, attorneys, victims, and defendants understood at sentencing the
length of time a person convicted of a crime would serve in prison.28
Furthermore, the law provided guidance to sentencing courts on decisions regarding the placement
of F-4s and F-5s on probation and/or community correction programs or in prison. Ohio Revised Code
§2929.13 sets nine criteria – including whether the offender inflicted physical harm, committed a sex
offense, or has a previous conviction for an offense that caused physical harm — providing guidance on
the decision.
Provided none of these characteristics are found, the law presumes the defendant is amenable to community control. The presumption of community control for nonviolent F-4s and F-5s is still advisory,
however, and judicial discretion exists to dispose these offenders to prison.

24. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Bureau of Adult
Detention, “Annual Jail Report 2001,” (May 2002) and “Annual Jail
Report 2008,”
25. 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,”
Reports/Annual/Annual%20Report%202008.pdf, 24.
26. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. “Fiscal Year
Intake and Population on July 1, 1971-2008.” (October 2008), http://

pdf (accessed September 16, 2009).
27. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, personal
com¬munication to the Council of State Governments Justice Center.
(Octo¬ber 15, 2009). ODRC budget numbers consist of General Revenue
Funds (GRF) to represent the state share of spending on corrections.
28. David Diroll, “Thoughts on Applying S.B. 2 to “Old Law” Inmates,”
Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, http://www.supremecourt.

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


Crowding in Ohio’s prison system,
which is operating at 133 percent of
capacity, is expected to intensify; for
the state to accommodate this growth
and ease some of the crowding, it
would have to spend close to a billion
dollars to build and operate additional
prison beds.

The growth in the prison population
has been driven in part by probation
revocations and an increase in the
number of people sentenced to prison
with a new conviction.

•	 Ohio prisons are currently 33 percent above the
capacity level of 38,349.29 By 2018, the prison
population is projected to climb from 50,921 to
53,973—a 6 percent increase, pushing crowding
levels to 141 percent of the prison system’s capacity.30,31

•	 Over this same period, the number of people
whose probation was revoked because they violated a condition of their supervision or because
they were convicted of a new offense increased 13

•	 To house the growing prison population and to
ease a portion of the crowding, the state will need
to spend by 2018 $829 million, on top of what it
already spends to operate the existing system, to
increase the capacity of the prison system by 3,569
beds. These estimates include $437 million in construction costs and $391 million in annual operating costs.32

•	 Between 2003 and 2008, the number of people
admitted to prison for a new court conviction
increased 30 percent.

•	 Admissions for parole or post-release control
(PRC) re-commissioned violators decreased by
two percent.

•	 Increases in the prison population census have
immediate budget consequences associated with
managing more people in prison, but additional
significant expenditures still loom: wear and tear
on facilities, potential litigation, and population
disruptions. Overcrowding also threatens the
security of Ohio’s prisons and presents significant
everyday management challenges for corrections
officers attempting to manage inmates crammed
into prisons designed to hold far fewer people.

29. Prison capacity level as of June 2010.
30. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, “Pieces of the
Puzzle: 2008 Annual Report,”
Annual/Annual%20Report%202008.pdf, p. 24. The ODRC official rated
capacity is 38,665. See
31. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and Brian Martin, “December 24, 2009 Prison Population Projections,”p. 3.


Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

32. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Kevin Stockdale
and Douglas Forbes, “Capital and Operating Costs of Two 2,000 Bed Prisons,” personal communication to the Council of State Governments Justice Center (Information updated July 19, 2010).

Ohio Prison Admissions By County
40% of Ohio Prison Admissions are
from three counties: Cuyahoga,
Hamilton, and Franklin.


Cuyahoga has 10.9% of the adult
population but contributes 20% of
Ohio’s prison admissions.
In Cuyahoga, 53% of admissions are
for lower-level felonies (F4 & F5) and
59% of sentences are for less than
1 year.


-- - --




- -



Prison Adml$llons

1,001 ••.&97





Prison Admissions




Total Expenditure




Adm per 1000 Adults




% of Total Adm




% of Total Adult Pop




























F4 and F5 Felonies
F4 F5 % of Adm
F4 F5 Expenditure
F4 F5 % total Expend
Adm with <1 yr LOS
< 1 yr % of Adm
< 1 yr Expenditure
< 1 yr % total Expend


Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


Most people admitted to prison are
fourth- or fifth-degree felons, the
lowest level of felony offenses.
•	 In 2008, people convicted of fourth (F-4) and fifth
(F-5) degree offenses represented 56 percent of
total prison admissions. Of these individuals, 68
percent were convicted of crimes labeled property or drug offenses. (Burglary offenses were not
included as a property crime in this analysis.)
•	 A significant portion of F-4s and F-5s sent to prison
might be more appropriately punished in the community, receiving a probation, prison diversion,
CBCF, or HWH sanction.

In 2008, almost half of the people
admitted to prison were assessed
as low risk and half received prison
sentences of 12 months or less.
•	 People admitted to prison in Ohio undergo an
objective ODRC risk assessment validated across
the prison population, which estimates the likelihood the person, following release from prison,
will reoffend and be re-incarcerated.
•	 Forty-four percent of admissions were assessed
as low-risk, with an average recidivism rate (measured by returns to prison within three years) of 26
•	 Forty-nine percent of people admitted to prison
receive sentences of twelve months or less.

Whether a person who commits a
certain crime is sentenced to probation
or to prison varies depending on
the county in which the offense was
•	 Cuyahoga County disposed 51 percent of F-4s to
probation while Franklin disposed a larger share
(63 percent) to probation. The same disparity
exists among F-5s: 66 percent of F-5s in Cuyahoga
County were sentenced to probation, as compared
to 82 percent in Franklin County.33
•	 If Cuyahoga County had disposed the same percentage of F-4 and F-5 cases to probation as Franklin did, 1,060 fewer people would have been sent to
prison from Cuyahoga County.34

33. To carry out this analysis, the CSG Justice Center reviewed 2008 Ohio
Courts Network disposition data, 2008 ODRC prison admission data,
and case management data provided by Cuyahoga and Franklin Courts
of Common Pleas Probation Departments. These were the only counties
where the CSG Justice Center could obtain case-level disposition data,
county probation, and state prison data.


Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

34. Construction has begun on a CBCF for Cuyahoga County, currently
the only Ohio county without access to a CBCF. Adding this local sentencing option will provide judges with new opportunities for diverting
certain offenders from prison.

Percent of Total Lower-Level Felony Admissions
by Cleveland Neighborhoods
54% of Prison Admissions in Cleveland were for
lower-level felony offenses. These admissions cost
the state over $27 million each year.


Cleveland NBHDs

% of City Total F4 & F5 Adm




5 Miles
LI~~_~LI ~~~L-JI


0,06% - 1.75%

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


It costs an estimated $121 million
annually to hold low-risk, fourthand fifth-degree property and drug
offenders in prison.

Between 2003 and 2008 average
sentence lengths increased.

• F-4 and F-5s who were convicted of property and
drug offenses, excluding burglary offenses, and
who have fewer than three previous convictions
have an average length of stay of nine months.
In 2008, people sentenced to prison for these
categories of crime used a total of 4,756 beds,
costing the state $121 million in corrections

•	 Although a two-month increase in average sentence length may seem small, it translates into a
significant increase in the prison population when
applied across everyone admitted to prison in
2008. The additional two months of time means
that the 2008 admission cohort will require 4,440
more beds than if they had served the same average sentence as those admitted in 2003.

•	 The average sentence for people admitted to prison
increased from 26 months in 2003 to 28 months in

Analysis of 2008 Ohio Prison Admisisons
Felony Level

F4/F5 Offense Types

F1: 2,059

Sex: 602 (4%)

Prior Convictions of F4/F5
Property & Drug Offenders
3 or More:

Person: 2,382

F2: 3,133

6,341 Admissions
F3: 6,395

Average Length of Stay
in Prison: 9 months


F4: 6,777



Drug: 5,347


F5: 8,296
Burglary + Other:
1,714 11%


1 to 2 Prior

Property: 5,028

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

4th & 5th Degree Felonies
Property/Drug Offenders
0–2 Previous Convictions
Not a Burglary Offense


4,756 beds
= $120,507,528
Annual Cost

VII.	Transitional Control
Offenders are recommended for the
program by the Ohio Parole Board
based on 11 criteria.
•	 The Transitional Control (TC) program places
offenders who are within 180 days of completing
their prison sentence inside a HWH, where they
will be supervised and eligible for programming
prior to full sentence completion.
•	 Eleven criteria are used to determine inmate eligibility, and, if they are met, the Ohio Parole Board,
following a period allowing for victim input, may
recommend the offender for the program. The
sentencing judge has the option to veto a person’s
participation in TC.35

Judicial vetoes limit TC’s potential to
lower recidivism.
•	 In FY 2009, of the 4,321 people the Ohio Parole
Board recommended for TC, 1,989 (46 percent) of
these recommendations were later vetoed by sentencing judges.
•	 Analysis of TC approval rates shows wide variation
in judicial approval across county. For example,
Mahoning and Summit had approval rates of 89
and 77 percent, respectively, whereas TC approval
rates in Montgomery and Allen were 18 and 27
percent, respectively.

Outcome evaluations demonstrate
that the Transitional Control program is
•	 UC’s 2002 and 2010 evaluations found TC to be
effective at reducing rates of new criminal activity
(measured by any new conviction) among all participants.
•	 The new conviction rate for all TC participants (not
just successful completers) was 35 percent—more
than 10 percent lower than the new conviction rate
for the comparison group (39 percent). Among
high risk participants in the program, new conviction rates fell 22 percent from a new conviction rate
of 57 percent for the comparison group to 45 percent for the TC participants.

35. Criteria include that the inmate not be serving a mandatory or life
sentence, not have more than one commitment for a violent offense
(including the current prison commitment), and that the inmate not

be serving a sex offense, be on administrative control, or have a security
level of 1 or 2.

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


Prison Expenditure by Cleveland Neighborhoods

Neighborhood Profile: Glenville
Total Admissions:


Total Expenditure:

$12.4 Million

Lower-level Felonies:

156 (58% of Nbhd)


$2.5 Million (20% of Nbhd)

LOS Under 1 Year:

162 (60% of Nbhd)


$2.2 Million (17% of Nbhd)


Cleveland NBHDs

Total Prison Adm Expenditure

$8,000,000.01 • $12,409.605.00


$5,000,000,01 - $6,000,000.00
$3.500,000.01 • $5.000,000.00





Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

5 Miles



$2,000,000.01 - $3,500,000.00

0$8,122.00 - $2,000.000.00


Post-Release Supervision

Post-Release Control is discretionary
for many offenders.
•	 The Ohio Revised Code § 2967.28 specifies that all
F-1 and F-2 offenders, F-3 offenders sentenced for
violent offenses, and all sex offenders shall receive
post-release control (PRC). For F-3s convicted of a
nonviolent offense and all F-4s and F-5s, however,
PRC is discretionary.
•	 For the discretionary cases, the Ohio Parole Board
considers a number of criteria, mostly offenserelated. 36

Information available about an
offender’s risk level is not used to guide
the allocation of post-release control
•	 High risk offenders are twice as likely (52 percent)
as low risk offenders (26 percent) to be re-incarcerated three years of release from prison. Very high
risk offenders are almost three times as likely (61
percent) as low risk offenders to be re-incarcerated.
•	 Only 56 percent of high risk offenders released
from prison are supervised even though data
demonstrate that more than half will commit new
crimes and be re-incarcerated within three years.
Approximately the same percentage (53 percent)
of low risk offenders are also being supervised,
although they are half as likely to reoffend.
•	 The majority of high risk F-4 and F-5 offenders
released from prison (64 percent) and almost half
of the very high risk F-4 and F-5 group (47 percent)
receive no PRC.

Analysis of Prison Releases by Risk Level, Recidivism, and
Supervision Status (2008)
The size of each box represents the relative number of people released from prison in 2008 by
their risk level. The recidivism rate for each risk group is indicated as well as the percent of each
risk group that is placed on parole/post-release control.

Low Risk

Medium Risk


Very High

Return to Prison
within 3 years

53% supervised

44% supervised



36. Criteria the Ohio Parole Board considers include: the offender’s criminal history, juvenile court delinquency adjudication, the record of the
prisoner’s conduct while imprisoned, and any recommendations from
the Office of Victim Services. Available:

Justice Reinvestment in Ohio


To learn more about the justice reinvestment strategy
in Ohio and other states,

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. 2009-DD-BX-K139
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:

Research and analysis described in this report also have
been funded by the Public Safety Performance Project
of the Pew Center on the States. The Pew Center on the
States is a division of The Pew Charitable Trusts that
identifies and advances effective solutions to critical
issues facing states. Pew is a nonprofit organization
that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve
public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.
To learn more about the Public Safety Performance
Project, please visit:

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: Analyses of Crime, Community
Corrections, and Sentencing Polices (New York: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2010).

Council of State Governments
Justice Center
New York, NY	

Bethesda, MD	

Austin, TX		

project contact:
Marc Pelka


Justice Reinvestment in Ohio

Seattle, WA



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