(WHBC) – State Senator Kirk Schuring says criminal sentencing reform is getting a lot of attention this legislative session as the state deals with crowded prisons and the high cost of housing inmates.

One bill he says lawmakers are working on would address sentencing for drug offenses.

“It would reduce most 4th and 5th degree drug felonies to a misdemeanor, and the only exceptions would be fentanyl and certain date-rape drugs.”

On with Canton’s Morning News, the Republican from Canton says the solution to the state’s crowded prisons is to not lock up those who are addicted, but to see what can be done to help them.

He says the state’s prison population is growing exponentially.

He says, in 1971 the state had 9,411 inmates, and today that number’s around 50,000.

He says it costs the state more than $2 billion annually to house prisoners.

Last fall, Ohio voters said no to Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have changed state law to keep lower level drug offenders out of prison with the goal of promoting treatment of addiction instead of imprisonment.

Opponents raised concerns about the effect removing the threat of punishment would have on Ohio’s drug courts.

State Senator District 29 Kirk Schuring

Posted by News-Talk 1480 WHBC on Monday, January 28, 2019