Ohio Crime Rates Decrease, But Prison Population Increases

Posted On: May 31st, 2017 by Bradley J. Groene

It is easy to assume crime rates in Ohio would correspond closely with the state’s prison population. When you see crime rates dropping, you expect the prison population to go down. When crime throughout the state increases, you expect the number of individuals within prison to rise. Yet, the truth is that our criminal justice system does not lead to such clear-cut correlations. As of last year, Ohio’s crime rate had decreased while the prison population grew. Some of this difference is contributed to tough prosecution, mandatory minimum sentences, harsh punishments, and difficulty in obtaining probation or parole.

To avoid becoming part of the Ohio prison system, contact Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer Brad Groene with Luftman, Heck & Associates. For a free, initial consultation, call (513) 338-1890.

Ohio Prison Populations Rose Despite Reduced Crime Rate

Between 1981 and 2013, crime in Ohio decreased by 41 percent, according to the Brennen Center for Justice. This is a phenomenal decline, caused by a higher number of police officers, data-driven policing techniques, lower alcohol consumption, an aging population, and changes in income. CompState, a policing approach that utilized evidence-based practices and strong management techniques has played a significant role wherever it has been implemented. The Brennen Center for Justice estimates it is responsible for a 5 to 15 percent reduction in crime in the 50 largest cities in the U.S., including Cleveland and Columbus.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that imprisonment or longer sentences have had any effect on reducing crime since 2000. Previous to this year, the Brennan Center for Justice found incarceration had only a small effect on reducing crime. Yet, despite the fact that imprisonment is not a crime deterrent, it is still heavily used in the country and state. Prison populations across the U.S. have continuously increased in the past 40 years. In Ohio, the prison population doubled over the previous 25 years. The most significant reason for this rise was the longer average duration of individual prison sentences and more individuals being sentenced to prison.

Ohio Lawmakers Work to Reduce Prison Population

While Ohio’s prison population increased for a great number of years, the growth rate slowed and stabilized by 2013. This may be due to Ohio’s legislative work to reduce prison populations, with numerous changes passed in 2011. Ohio law reduced the maximum prison sentences for a number of crimes, including drug offenses. It increased the number of community-based alternatives to imprisonment and now allows individuals to earn time off their sentences through mental health programs and education. These changes reduce how many new individuals are sentenced to prison and cuts down the average length of imprisonment.

Avoiding Imprisonment When You Are Accused of a Crime

When you have been charged with a crime in Ohio, one of your greatest fears is most likely incarceration. It is understandable to worry about being locked away from your family and friends. It puts your life on hold, potentially for years or decades. However, there are ways to fight against imprisonment or lengthy sentences. By working with an experienced Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer, you can fight to have your charges reduced to an offense that does not have a mandatory minimum sentence or a lengthy maximum sentence. It is particularly helpful if you can have a felony reduced to a misdemeanor.

Your attorney can fight for alternative punishments other than prison, such as probation, community service, education programs, counseling, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Many counties would prefer first-time and non-violent offenders to go through a community program than prison. It may simply take having a lawyer who knows your options and can advocate on your behalf.

If a conviction is likely and there are no relevant community-based alternatives, then a lawyer can tenaciously appeal for the minimum punishment available under the law. Many offenses have a significant range in potential prison sentences, and your attorney will argue that the shortest sentence possible is not only best for you, but also for the public.

Contact a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorney Today

When you are facing criminal charges, you should contact skilled criminal defense attorney Brad Groene of Luftman, Heck & Associates at (513) 338-1890. Attorney Groene has considerable experience representing individuals against a wide range of juvenile, misdemeanor, and felony cases and always strives to obtain an acquittal or if necessary, minimize the consequences of a defense. He understands that a lengthy prison sentence is rarely the answer, and instead, will focus on getting you the help and support you need while advocating for fairness.