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Education


Petro quits higher education post to pursue passion
Jim Petro will work to clear people of crimes they did not commit 
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT BILL COHEN


Reporter
Bill Cohen
 
Jim Petro spoke at Kent State on September 14,2011
Courtesy of Kent State University
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In The Region:
The man who’s headed Ohio’s system of higher education has announced his retirement. Jim Petro is stepping down as chancellor of the Board of Regents.
Jim Petro leaves his position

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Jim Petro Q and A

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Petro says he wants to spend more time following a passion of his – stopping people from being wrongly convicted of crimes. He and his wife wrote a book called False Justice, and Petro says retiring from his job as chancellor will let him accept invitations to speak at law schools about the crime issue. He tells statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen he’ll soon speak at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Akron, and even overseas.

"Late summer I am scheduled to lecture at the University of Peking in China, again about wrongful conviction. Believe it or not, the book False Justice has been translated into Chinese and printed by Peking University Press. They tell me it is very popular. I care deeply about our justice system just as I do about higher education."

Petro says he doesn't believe that translate's to opposition for the death penalty. 

"I have always said; I think that every state should re-examine issues around punishment. Honestly we are keeping too many people in prison too long. I go back to the days of mandatory minimum sentence adoption in the legislature. I think we made some mistakes. From the justice perspective you have a young man or young woman convicted of a first drug offense spending 5 and 6 years in prison." 

He adds: "That is number one a large burden on the state, and number two a longevity period that is pretty much going to destroy any opportunity they have for redemption; A meaningful opportunity to get out of the world of drugs and into the world of the positive legal economy. We are not helping them with long prison sentences and we are spending a lot of money."

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