Judges, Ohio Prison System at Odds Over Bed Reduction Plan

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio judges and the state prison system are at odds over a new law meant to reduce prison time for low-level offenders who commit minor probation violations.

At issue is a mandate capping the amount of time judges can send offenders convicted of minor crimes to prison for violations like missing counseling appointments and committing misdemeanors.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says some judges aren’t always following the law and are sending offenders to prison for longer-than-allowed sentences.

The prison system had counted on the law decreasing Ohio’s inmate population by around 400 this year and as much as 1,100 next year.

Some judges question the constitutionality of the short sentencing caps and say they reduce incentives for inmates to follow probation rules.