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Criminal Justice Reform

A newly announced diversion program by the Columbus City Attorney's office is designed to break the cycle of repeat offenders by looking at the causes of their crimes. 

Columbus City Council last night approved legislation reducing the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. 

Columbus City Council last night hosted a public forum on legislation that would lower the penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana and related paraphernalia. 

Cincinnati City Council has voted to decriminalize up to 100 grams of marijuana possession for recreational use.  

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Columbus City attorney Zach Klein says his prosecutors will stop seeking cash bonds for people charged with nonviolent misdemeanors.  

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A new report on changes to Ohio sentencing laws says reform efforts may have saved 500 million dollars over several years but more is needed to reduce the state's prison population. 

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Republican Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is calling out a problem in the bail system, saying it’s a real problem when some low-income Ohioans charged with crimes have to pay bail to be released from lockups.

A report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says nearly 1 out of 8 bills introduced by state lawmakers either creates a new crime or expands sentences.

Ohio Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is again pushing for criminal justice reform with a new report on what it calls the "Statehouse to prison pipeline". 

Ohio Public Radio

The leader of the Ohio Senate says the so-called Heartbeat Bill is one of his chamber’s priorities, but that it’s not at the top of the list.

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Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin says he is working on a proposal to reduce the criminal penalties for marijuana possession. 

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A bill in the Ohio House attempts to reform the criminal justice system by basing bail on a person's risk to society rather than their financial situation. 

A state lawmaker says the way bail is set for people who are arrested can sometimes be a backwards process.

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Changes are underway for how much time a person might spend in prison for a non-violent crime.

A noted art collector and philanthropist has sold a major painting for an eye-popping $165 million to raise money for criminal justice reform.

Agnes Gund sold Roy Lichtenstein's 1962 work Masterpiece, reportedly to billionaire hedge fund manager and art collector Steve Cohen. The sale apparently took place months ago; an art industry newsletter reported on the transaction in January, but Gund would not confirm it.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants prosecutors to get tough on people convicted of drug crimes. He's ordering federal prosecutors to, quote, "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense."

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

In a memo to staff, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" — a move that marks a significant reversal of Obama-era policies on low-level drug crimes.

The two-page memo, which was publicly released Friday, lays out a policy of strict enforcement that rolls back the comparatively lenient stance established by Eric Holder, one of Sessions' predecessors under President Barack Obama.

An estimated crowd of between 300 and 400 people gathered Saturday at Franklin Park to protest local police shootings and call for social justice.

Ohio Public Radio

Groups hoping to reform criminal sentencing laws accuse legislators of being over-reliant on bills that create new penalties and extend sentences.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled prior juvenile convictions cannot be used to increase the severity of charges or the length of prison sentences those individuals receive as adults.

Associated Press

President Obama's latest round of commutations of prisoners serving time for drug offenses includes a Groveport man sentenced to life in federal prison for selling crack cocaine.

Ohio Public Radio

The ACLU of Ohio and the Ohio Justice and Policy Center have released a report detailing recommendations for criminal justice reform.