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Criminal Justice Reform: What's Next for Cuyahoga County?

There is an emerging groundswell of support for criminal justice reform and efforts to end mass incarceration in the United States. Recently, art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund donated  $165 million from the sale of a rare painting to raise money for criminal justice reform.

Ohio's prison population has increased 15 percent since 2005, giving the state the  fourth-largest prison population in the United States. Across the state - and here in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County - there are efforts underway in the courts to use improved risk assessments when setting bail, to devise prison alternatives for low-level offenders, and to encourage and empower judges to offer rehabilitation programs, addiction services, and community service in place of incarceration.

Supporters hail these efforts as providing a savings to taxpayers while simultaneously benefiting minorities and the poor who disproportionately struggle to navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system, while some critics still favor Ohio's past "tough on crime" stance. What could criminal justice reform look like in Cuyahoga County?

This conversation with Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley and  The Honorable John J. Russo, Presiding and Administrative Judge in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, reviews current efforts to reform the county's criminal justice system.

Jean-Marie Papoi is a digital producer for the arts & culture team at Ideastream Public Media.