There are 50,000 people in prison across Ohio, and it costs the state $30,000 a year to house each person. The University of Toledo Law Review will examine the issue and discuss sentencing alternatives when it hosts its annual symposium Friday, Feb. 18, in the Law Center Auditorium.
“This is a great opportunity for those working within the criminal justice system to advocate for sentencing reform. The symposium will give participants an overview of the costs and consequences of incarceration,” Peggy Ery, publications editor of The University of Toledo Law Review, said.
U.S. District Court Judge James Carr proposed the sentencing topic because as a judge, he sees the prison population growing and understands the costs associated with housing prisoners.
“It is a very topical subject at this time. Many states are losing funding, and the judicial system needs to look at other alternatives to our current prison system,” said Carr, who serves as senior judge at the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio and an instructor at UT. “At this year’s symposium, we will look at ways to decrease the cost of imprisoning men and women, from house arrest to work release.”
Carr invited his judicial peers to speak with students and other practitioners in the criminal justice area.
“Part of the mission of the College of Law is to provide public discussion, particularly on issues that affect the judicial system. That is why we also invite those involved in corrections and other areas to brainstorm alternatives,” Carr said. “The combination of backgrounds to address these problems is enlightening for all of those involved in the symposium.”
Organizers are expecting at least 100 people to attend the symposium, which will run from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., and offer their suggestions on how to improve the system.