Study: Ohio a Leader in Diverting Youths From Prisons

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A new study shows Ohio as a national leader in diverting juveniles to lower-cost community programs instead of prison.

The national study by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention shows the number of young people in Ohio sent to prison dropped 80 percent from 1997 to 2013. Figures show the national average of juvenile incarceration rates for that time dropped 55 percent.

A total of 491 juveniles currently are incarcerated in three Ohio Department of Youth Services facilities and four contract agencies. In 1997, the average number of offenders held in 12 state lockups and some contract agencies was more than 2,000.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that in addition to saving tax-payer money, authorities say research shows that youths do better when they stay closer to home.