Prisons in Ohio have a large population of people addicted to heroin and painkillers, an official told the state Senate Finance Committee this week.
State Prisons Director Gary Mohr said judges send offenders to prison after they relapse several times, the Associated Press reports.
“They kept coming back, and at some point in time, judges said, ‘I have to vacate this probation and send you to prison,’” Mohr said.
Mark Schweikert, Director of the Ohio Judicial Conference, agreed judges are sending some drug-addicted people to prison in an effort to save them. “They continue to use and the only way they can keep the person drug-free for a considerable period of time is send them to prison.”
Addiction to painkillers and heroin has led to an increase in thefts, burglaries and other crimes, according to law enforcement officials. The state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction asked legislators to take a number of steps to address an increase in prisoners, many of whom are addicted to drugs. These include funding an additional $14 million this year and $40 million next year to reopen closed units at two prisons, adding parole officers to deal with the growing population, and increasing medical and mental health staffing.
The funding would include $4.2 million this year and $8.5 million next year for an additional 400 beds statewide in halfway houses and local corrections facilities, to keep people out of prison.