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Sentencing laws spark good project

Like it or not, alternative sentencing is a concept that is here to stay in the American criminal justice system. Thankfully Lawrence County agencies are making the most of what could be a negative and implementing programs that can change lives and taxpayers money at the same time.

It might be difficult to think of a better win-win scenario than that.

Ohio’s legislature has continued to adopt criminal sentencing guidelines, essentially as a cost-savings measure for the state’s overflowing prison system. This means that some nonviolent, first-time offenders or those convicted of what is deemed to be lesser offenses cannot be sent to prison.

This concept has a number of inherent problems including the fact it requires local taxpayers to foot all the bill to keep individuals in jail and it also means politicians are setting sentences rather than allowing judges to make decisions based on circumstances.

But in making the best of that Lawrence County has recently instituted what is being called a life intervention and diversion program. This is a multi-agency partnership designed to keep people out of jail as well as address the root problems that put them in this position in the first place.

One key component is establishing a work farm that will allow these men and women to contribute to our society. The produce grown on the six-acre plot will be used to lower food costs at the jail and help local food pantries.

And this could be just the tip of the iceberg as the county has more land that could be utilized the same way.

We applaud all those involved with this project

Now that the proverbial seeds have been planted, this worthwhile project should continue to grow.