Governor Kasich asks judges’ help in reducing prison crowding

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Republican governor is urging Ohio judges who handle felony cases to consider leniency when sentencing repeat, nonviolent offenders as the state deals with packed prisons and an opioid-addiction crisis.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Gov. John Kasich spoke to the Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association this week and asked judges to do what they can, inside and outside the courtroom, to help reduce the number of people imprisoned for low-level offenses.

Kasich says that despite more resources dedicated to treating such drug offenders locally, Ohio’s prison population tops 50,000 inmates. It’s just a few hundred shy of the record high set in 2008.

Kasich says Ohio needs more funding to help divert nonviolent defendants away from prison and changes in criminal sentencing to give judges more flexibility.