Ohio's sustainable prison act

Essay by tomasurj November 2014

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Ohio's Sustainable Prison Act

Randee Jay Tomasulo

University of Cincinnati


The United States of America has an incarceration rate of 743 per 100,000 people, making our country the incarceration capital of the world. We have seen an increase in imprisonment of 700 percent since the 1970's. Today, more than 1 in 100 adults are in jails or prisons nationwide. The state corrections budget has nearly quadrupled over the past twenty years making it the fastest growing budget item after Medicaid (Henrichson & Delaney, 2012). One major contributor to rising rates is the increase in sentencing laws. Some factors include mandatory minimum sentencing and the " three strikes law " that was implemented in the 1990's. The second contributor is the war on drugs, which was formally initiated by Richard Nixon, under the guise of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention Control Act of 1970. By 2010, the result was 31 million people being charged with drug related offenses, which is approximately 1 in 10 (Conyers Jr.,


Each states cost of housing an inmate varies from $14,000 to $50,000. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) spent $25,814 per inmate in 2010. Ohio housed 50,960 inmates that year costing the state 132 billion dollars (Henrichson & Delany, 2012). Given the amount of money we are spending, inmates must be receiving quality housing, food and education, right? Wrong, the food we serve does not meet the recommended federal guidelines, little to no quality education and few programs that contribute to the "rehabilitation" model (Henrichson & Delany, 2012)

The Ohio Sustainable Prison Act would reduce annual operational costs, provide prisoners with truly meaningful work and education that fosters rehabilitation; while allowing economic and nutritional benefits that extend beyond the prisons walls. With the participation of local colleges and universities, this policy...