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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 7, 2004


Recent court ruling on parole hearings should
result in  prison closing, saving state tens of millions of dollars


(Columbus) - The order issued last week by a Franklin County judge in the case Ankrom, et al. vs. Hageman, et al. should result in the release of enough inmates to allow the state to close at least one prison, thereby saving the state tens of millions of dollars annually.

In his final appealable order issued Aug. 31, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David E. Cain ruled that thousands of Ohio’s "old law" inmates have been denied "meaningful consideration for parole," and ordered the Ohio Adult Parole Authority "to immediately re-hear and grant meaningful consideration for parole to any class member who has had his or her plea agreement contracts breached…[a]nd new hearings must be granted to any class members who have not had a hearing since September 5, 2003…"

As of January 1, 2004, there were 6,829 Ohio inmates serving indefinite sentences under Ohio’s "old," or pre-SB 2 law, who had already received their first parole hearing. Another 3,449 old-law inmates serving indefinite terms had not yet received their first hearing. Although the exact number of Ohio inmates affected by the recent Ankrom decision is not yet known, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender estimates that the Ohio Adult Parole Authority will have to re-hear at least 5,000–7,000 cases.

A December 2002 Ohio Supreme Court ruling in the case Layne vs. Ohio Adult Parole Authority affected 2,493 Ohio inmates. As of March 29, 2,356 of those cases had been heard, and 1,377 inmates had been paroled—over 55% of the inmates included in the Layne class action.

If only the lowest estimated number of inmates affected by the recent Ankrom decision (5,000) is assumed, with a parole rate similar to cases affected by the Layne decision, the Ankrom decision is very likely to find at least 2,750 Ohio inmates who have been denied meaningful parole consideration and who are likely to be paroled.

According to the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections’ July 2004 report, the annual average cost per inmate is $21,660. Granting parole to 2,750 inmates who have been denied meaningful parole consideration would save the state nearly $60 million annually. With each state prison holding an approximate average of 1,300 inmates, such a result of the Ankrom order would also allow the state to close at least one of its prisons.

Assistant State Public Defender Charles Clovis filed and pursued the Ankrom case on behalf of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender: "It’s important for the public to understand that any inmates paroled as a result of the Ankrom decision aren’t getting a lucky break. They have served the time they were sentenced to, and in some cases, they’ve served two or three times the maximum sentence allowed under today’s law.

"Giving these inmates the meaningful parole hearings they’re entitled to will not only fix a significant flaw in our criminal justice system, but will also save the state tens of millions of dollars annually."

Click here for a copy of the court ruling

Click here for the Ankrom case update page.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amy Borror, Office of the Ohio Public Defender 614-644-1587

Email: amy.borror@opd.state.oh.us

 

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