Bipartisan effort launched to update Ohio crime laws

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Proposed legislation would keep Ohio offenders on parole who commit technical violations like missing mandatory meetings from being automatically returned to prison.

The bipartisan legislation announced Wednesday would also allow more offenders to petition to have their records sealed and give judges more discretion when sentencing inmates to parole.

The legislation would also put more emphasis in felony sentencing laws on rehabilitation in an effort to keep more nonviolent offenders in the community from the beginning.

State Sen. Charleta Tavares (shar-LEE’-tuh tuh-VAR’-his), a Columbus Democrat, says not every violation of the law requires a stay in prison.

The proposal 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 prison population.