Ohio’s prison population grows more slowly than expected

CLEVELAND (AP) – Ohio’s prison population isn’t growing as rapidly as officials expected, though it still has thousands more inmates than its system was designed to accommodate.

The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports Ohio had just under 50,600 prisoners in January, nearly 1,000 fewer inmates than expected last summer.

State officials had estimated Ohio would have nearly 53,500 prisoners by 2019, well above the roughly 38,600-inmate capacity of the state’s 28 prisons.

A prisons spokeswoman says growth has been slower than projected because of a decrease in violent crime and legislative and funding changes that encourage prison alternatives, such as community-based corrections programs.

A senior policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says the update gives him “guarded optimism” but more funding is needed for alternative sentencing and rehabilitation.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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