court ruling on parole hearings should
prison closing, saving state tens of millions of dollars
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
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.
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
here for a copy of the court ruling
here for the Ankrom case update page.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Amy Borror, Office of
the Ohio Public Defender 614-644-1587