COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Some Ohio judges are unhappy with a new requirement that they ask the state corrections department for alternatives to prison before sentencing certain nonviolent, first-time offenders.
Fairfield County Common Pleas Judge Richard Berens tells The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/A1RuT9 ) he thinks that basically means asking bureaucrats for permission to imprison someone.
The requirement took effect Sept. 30 as part of a sentencing law aimed at shrinking the prison population and reducing costs. Certain offenders now must be sentenced to a community control program instead of prison if such a program is available.
Berens is among several judges that see it as bad policy but say they'll follow the law.
It was crafted by Republican state Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, who defends the measure and says it doesn't undermine judicial discretion.
Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com