From 2010-2011, the CSG Justice Center worked with Ohio’s state leaders to develop data-driven, consensus-based policy options designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. CSG Justice Center experts interviewed stakeholders across the criminal justice system and conducted a comprehensive analysis of Ohio’s criminal justice data to identify challenges facing the state:

  • A considerable amount of prison population pressures were attributed to high numbers of people convicted of property and drug offenses; these individuals, many with a high likelihood of reoffending, were completing short prison terms and then being returned to the community without supervision
  • Ohio’s probation system—a patchwork of 187 independent agencies—lacked consistent policies and minimum standards to ensure effective practices, such as requiring the use of risk assessment instruments to assign probationers to appropriate levels of supervision and mandating minimum lengths of officer training;
  • Community correction programs, despite the state’s significant investment, were not proving effective at lowering offender recidivism; research showed that some programs were actually increasing recidivism rates because they did not filter out those participants who would not benefit from the intensive programming


Ohio’s justice reinvestment legislation was signed into law in 2011. It includes several policy options designed to address theses challenges. Among other things, the framework:

  • Holds first-time property and drug offenders accountable in more meaningful ways by requiring them to serve probation terms and attend treatment
  • Adopts statewide admission criteria for community correction programs that prioritize placement for people who would benefit most from intensive supervision and treatment
  • Establishes statewide standards for probation to ensure greater consistency from county to county

These policies are projected to reduce spending by $78 million and save up to an estimated $500 million in averted construction costs by 2015. By the same year, Ohio will have reinvested $20 million to improve felony probation supervision- funding that will be tied to agencies’ demonstrated reductions in recidivism. The legislature already reinvested $10 million in new funding in its FY 2012-13 budget. Ohio continues to receive implementation guidance from the CSG Justice Center.