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Bipartisan Effort Would Give Ohio Judges More Discretion In Sentencing

Prison cell
Michael Coghlan

Proposed legislation would keep Ohio offenders from automatically going back to prison if they're on parole and commit technical violations like missing mandatory meetings. 

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, 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.