Football Players Support Ohio Justice Reform Plan

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Three former Ohio State football players and one Cleveland Browns player are among those asking the Ohio Senate to embrace a plan that will keep low-level offenders out of prison, reports Malcolm Jenkins, Raekwon McMillan and Chris “Beanie” Wells of Ohio State signed a letter to Ohio senators in support of the Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison (TCAP) plan. So has Ibraheim Campbell, a defensive back at Northwestern University who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft.

“As NFL players who have personal connections to our broken justice system and have seen its impact on our own neighborhoods, we support justice reforms that strengthen families and restore communities,” begins the letter. The TCAP reforms, which are included in Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal, include eliminating mandatory prison sentences for minor parole violations and transferring low-level, non-violent to local jails or to drug treatment programs or other community-based alternatives. A House of Representatives version of the budget includes significantly less money than what Kasich wants for TCAP reforms. The governor’s plan would mean an estimated 3,400 offenders a year would be jailed or supervised locally instead of being sent to prison. Not everyone supports the plan. John Murphy of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said the plan would limit sentencing options. The County Commissioners Association of Ohio believes the plan has merit, but is concerned about the cost to counties and the timeline for the change. The state is operating pilot programs in eight counties.

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