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Ohio’s Overcrowded Prisons Spur New Sentencing Laws – Part 1

Written by on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 9:53pm

Ohio lawmakers recently voted to enact House Bill 86, which was written to address Ohio’s overcrowded prison problem. The bill went into effect Sept. 30, 2011. Some of the changes in sentencing include:

A new 80 percent rule:

The new bill allows the director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to petition the sentencing court for a judicial release of inmates who have served at least 80 percent of their sentence (of at least one year). Under the new law, the parole board must review each case and decide whether to rehear the inmate’s case for parole. DRC must report its findings to the General Assembly, including an explanation of why offenders haven’t been paroled. This “80 percent” provision is not available to sex offenders or those convicted of violent crimes.

Crack and powder cocaine now defined as same substance:

Previously, crimes related to crack were classified differently than crimes related to powder cocaine. The new law eliminates any distinctions between the two with regard to charges and sentencing.

Changes in money for drugs charges:

With regard to charges of providing drugs for money, under the new law, a person must have at least five grams of cocaine to be charged. The bill eliminates the one-gram crack level.

Continued in Part 2…

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