Bipartisan effort launched to update Ohio crime laws

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Lawmakers are teaming up with the Ohio prisons agency to announce a bipartisan effort to update the state’s criminal justice laws.

The announcement coming Wednesday is one of a series of efforts over the past few years to change how Ohio punishes offenders as a way of reducing the state’s bulging prison population.

Proposed legislation will be discussed by state Sen. John Eklund, a Republican from Geauga (jee-AW’-guh) County in northeastern Ohio and Sen. Charleta Tavares (shar-LEE’-tuh tuh-VAR’-his), a Columbus Democrat.

The lawmakers will be joined by Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, who’s long been a proponent of reducing the number of low-level offenders sent to prison.

Ohio currently houses about 50,200 inmates, or 130 percent over capacity.