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Courts and Crime

The rate of inmates returning to Ohio prisons hits a record low
Ohio'a prison director says the low rate springs from changing attitudes and new programs

Karen Kasler
In The Region:

The percentage of inmates who leave Ohio’s prisons and come back later is at an all-time low.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reports the three-year offender recidivism rate is at just under 29 percent, down from a little over 31 percent. The national average is 43 percent.

Prisons Director Gary Mohr says it’s a result of a combination of factors, including new programming in prisons, greater use of community diversion alternatives and changing attitudes about those who have spent time behind bars.

Mohr: Human beings in prison

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"We have to realize that people who get into trouble ... are human beings. They're not less than human beings. And they're people (with whom), if we have a commitment to support and if they have a willingness to change, we can have great results."

Mohr says 71 percent of inmates who left prison did not return within three years. Nearly 24 percent of inmates ended up back behind bars because of new felony convictions, while about 4 1/2 percent returned because of parole violations.

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