Revised Ohio Sentencing Law Gives Judges Leeway

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A revised law is giving judges more leeway when it comes to sentencing first-time offenders convicted of minor felonies.

The goal of the original law was to save money by reducing Ohio's prison population and to shrink the number of people committing new crimes after release.

Judges complained the law tied their hands when it came to some defendants they thought deserved prison time, such as low-level sex offenders or those who committed theft in office.

A law that took effect late last month allows judges to order prison time for first-time offenders convicted of fourth- or fifth-degree felonies if the crime involved a gun, an assault, a sex crime, a bond or probation violation or a violation of the public trust, such as theft in office.