Called "Redesigning Ohio," it makes sweeping recommendations on how Ohio leaders approach state budgeting, local governments, regulations, public unions and criminal justice, including a call to change sentencing provisions and close three prisons. [ Full 50-page PDF here ]
The report is the result of a year-long project undertaken by Ohio's Metropolitan Chambers of Commerce and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. It notes that, while Ohio is the 7th. most populous state in the nation, 3rd. in manufacturing GSP, and 6th. nationally in Fortune 500 company headquarters, it is also 47th in economic growth and 2nd in job losses, personal income is below the national average, and the price of state and local government is above the national average and headed upward.
"Ohio's criminal justice system is underperforming," for one thing, the report's summary says. "It costs too much and the outcomes are inadequate. From a bottom line perspective, it is time to ask a fundamental question: would public safety, prisoner rehabilitation, recidivism and correctional costs be improved if Ohio directed more nonviolent offenders away from adult prisons toward non-residential community-based monitoring and treatment? We believe the answer is, yes.
Specific recommendations there included:
- Direct most low-risk, truly nonviolent (and nonsexual) felony 4 and 5 offenders who are amenable to treatment to supervised release in non-residential community-based correctional options, including day reporting, electronic monitoring, work programs and education and treatment programs.
- Enact legislation to revise criminal sentencing provisions, including limited expansions of earned credit for prisoners, to better protect the public, improve offender outcomes and reduce taxpayer costs.
- Make smarter investments in the management of probation and parole, including greater use of evidence-based risk assessment instruments, GPS monitoring, and random drug testing.
- Provide better education, training, and treatment services for prisoners who have a high incidence of functional illiteracy, workforce skill deficits, and mental health/substance abuse problems.
Coincidential to the Ohio report, above, the New York Times yesterday also reported "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that he would be asking New York State to turn over control of prisons and services for juvenile offenders to local governments, a move that he said would end the failed and costly practice of shipping troubled young people from New York City to upstate facilities far from their families."