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mass incarceration

People returning to Dayton from incarceration will now have access to more help reentering society. Montgomery County officials Wednesday cut the ribbon on a new, dedicated Reentry Training Center offering intensive job-preparation classes and job placement, housing and other assistance.

This Jan. 8, 2001. file photo shows the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) in Youngstown, Ohio, the state's highest security prison.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

An Ohio State University analysis of state, county and federal data suggests racial disparities in criminal sentencing have declined. 

Nearly half the people admitted to state prisons in the U.S. are there because of violations of probation or parole, according to a new nationwide study that highlights the personal and economic costs of the practice.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center said the majority of these violations are for "minor infractions," such as failing a drug test or missing a curfew. Those so-called technical violations cost states $2.8 billion every year, the report says.

Jamie Monghan is a prisoner at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. She lives in the Tapestry Unit for women in addiction recovery.
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

Heroin ran Stephanie Pollock's life. She woke up in the morning with heroin on her mind, her day revolved around it, and everything else including her three kids and her own well-being paled in comparison.

James Sutton / Unsplash

A typical phone call usually doesn't cost much, if anything. But in jails and prisons, inmates must pay to use phones to stay in touch with loved ones and their lawyers. These prices can vary dramatically based on where someone is incarcerated.

Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Discrepancies in sentencing among Ohio inmates inspired a recent documentary on the inequities of the U.S. justice system.

A report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says nearly one in eight bills introduced by state lawmakers either creates a new crime or expands sentences. But the leader in the Senate is pushing back on claims that lawmakers are to blame.

Once again, the ACLU of Ohio is pushing for criminal justice reform with a new report on what it calls the “Statehouse to prison pipeline”. 

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half his life alone in a prison cell in Illinois — 22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

"It was pretty broke down — the whole system, the way they treated us," says the 43-year-old Rasho, who has been diagnosed with several mental health conditions, including severe depression, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

The warden at the women's prison in Iowa recently instructed her corrections officers to stop giving out so many disciplinary tickets for minor violations of prison rules, like when a woman wears her sweatshirt inside out or rolls up her sleeves.

It's a small thing. But it's also part of a growing movement to reconsider the way women are treated in prison.

When Monica Cosby, Tyteanna Williams and Celia Colon talk about the years they spent as inmates at women's prisons in Illinois, their stories often turn to the times they would be disciplined for what seemed like small, even absurd things.

Cosby was playing Scrabble in her cell once when a guard asked what she was doing. She responded sarcastically: "What does it look like I'm doing?" He wrote her up for "contraband" (the Scrabble set) and for "insolence."

John Minchillo / Associated Press

While many Ohioans are enjoying picnics, parades and fireworks, community activists are hustling to meet the July 4 deadline for getting their ballot issue in front of voters.

DAN KONIK / Statehouse News Bureau

The Ohio House has followed the Senate's lead in overwhelmingly approving a measure meant to lower the state’s prison population and send non-violent offenders to treatment programs instead.

The number of people incarcerated in American prisons is the lowest it's been in decades. But a new report from The Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit research group that wants to limit mass incarceration in the United States, tells a more complex story.

A federal judge has declared unconstitutional Florida's procedure for restoring voting rights to felons who have served their time.

In a strongly worded ruling seen as a rebuke of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is the lead defendant in the case, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the disenfranchisement of felons who have served their time is "nonsensical" and a violation of the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

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