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Senator looks to make changes to criminal justice system with sweeping legislation

A bed at the Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient, where six inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
A bed at the Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient.

A state lawmaker has introduced a robust bill to make several changes to Ohio's criminal justice system in hopes of tackling issues that have come close to becoming law in the past.

The Senate bill takes a variety of measures that have been discussed in the Ohio Statehouse for years.

Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) says he hopes his bill can break the logjam on these issues and help clarify the state's criminal code in the process.

The bill, SB288, would create public records laws for body cameras in prisons, expand the ability to expunge criminal records, and increase rehabilitation programs in exchange for early release.

The legislation, which spans more than 1,700 pages would do several other things as well.

Manning says these are reforms that can help Ohioans get back on their feet after serving their time.

"It's not just criminal justice reform it's about being smarter and we can always improve things. In any industry or in any job you can always do things better and that's what we're trying to do here,"

Manning says the idea is to put all the measures under one comprehensive bill to get all the interested parties in one room during the committee process. Manning describes the bill as "fluid" and says he is prepared for the legislation to move forward with possible changes.

Many of the provisions have been discussed in the legislature before. Manning says the strategy is to put them in a larger, comprehensive bill that can become a fluid vehicle for the members to work with so that the measures can pass this time around.

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