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New Report Finds Lawmakers are Contributing to Prison Overcrowding

photo of Gary Daniels
Gary Daniels, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, testifying before an Ohio Senate committee in 2018.

Once again, the ACLU of Ohio is pushing for criminal justice reform with a new report on what it calls the “Statehouse to prison pipeline."

The ACLU’s Gary Daniels said the report shows too many Ohioans are being locked up.

“Our prison system is about 11,000 to 12,000 people above capacity right now," he said.

Daniels said lawmakers have loosened penalties to divert some low-level offenders from lockups but are still passing new tough-on-crime legislation.

“So our number one recommendation which revolves around the report is stop passing these bills to put more people in prison and jail.”

Daniels says 137 bills, 12% of all those introduced by the most recent general assembly, contained provisions to send more people to prison or jail. The report shows incarceration in Ohio has quadrupled since 1980, driving the state's prison population to the fifth highest in the nation in 2016.