Ohio hopes to cut women inmate spike via prison alternatives

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio hopes to help curb rising numbers of women inmates in the state’s prisons through a program focusing on community alternatives.

The Columbus Dispatch reports a state budget provision allows the director of Ohio’s prisons to move nonviolent, low-level felony drug offenders out of prison and into community programs or electronically-monitored house arrest if they have less than a year remaining of their sentence.

The move marks the first time the director has been authorized by legislators to shorten prison sentences. More than 2,000 inmates are likely to be eligible this year for the program that applies to men and women. The newspaper says women will get first priority in the new program.

A national prisoner-advocacy group reports female prison intake is increasing at nearly double the rate for men.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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