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Government & Politics

ACLU Report on Crime Says Legislators Should Focus on Causes, Not Punishments

photo of Kari Bloom
Kari Bloom is a liaison officer for the Ohio Public Defender's office.

A group hoping to reform criminal-sentencing laws is accusing legislators of relying on bills that create new penalties and extend sentences. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports on new findings from the ACLU.

The ACLU released an analysis of the more than 1,000 bills introduced in the Ohio House and Senate last session. According to the report, about 9 percent of those bills had some type of provision that either created new criminal penalties or strengthened existing ones.

Kari Bloom with the Ohio Public Defender’s office says lawmakers should focus on the underlying problems instead.

“Instead of ‘Why did this happen?’ we’re going to say if that happens again we’re going to punish it more,” Bloom said.

Republicans and Democrats in the Statehouse have acknowledged that Ohio has a problem with overcrowded prisons. A bipartisan, criminal justice-reform commission is expected to release its recommendations soon.