Group aims to reform, not incarcerate, law breakers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Nearly 7 million people in the U.S. are either in prison, jail or on parole. A group in the Valley is hoping to change those numbers.

The Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative is helping to launch a statewide effort to emphasize rehabilitation, especially for non-violent and drug offense charges. They claim over 50 percent of the inmates in federal prisons are there because of drugs. They want to see funding shift away from prisons and into educating and reforming criminals.

“Our goal is to end mass incarceration. We really want to cut it in half by 2020. We want to see the rights of the citizens restored and we want to be able to pass petitions,” said Akim Lattimore, who spent time in prison.

Groups address high prison population.

The group is also pushing for fair hiring policies in Ohio. They want to eliminate the box to check if you are a convicted felon on job applications. Youngstown has already joined nine other municipalities in Ohio to agree to take the box off applications.

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