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Ohio's Judicial Release Statute and Its Recent Changes

In Ohio, an offender sentenced to a prison term may be eligible for early release. Ohio law calls this judicial release, the eligibility requirements of which are set forth in R.C. § 2929.20. To be eligible, the offender must be serving a prison term containing one or more non-mandatory prison terms. Notably, an offender serving a prison term for certain offenses committed while holding public office or related to the offender's conduct as a public official is not eligible for early release.

When May an Eligible Offender File for Judicial Release?

If the total non-mandatory prison term or terms is less than two years, the offender may request early release no earlier than 30 days after the offender arrived at prison to serve the term or terms; or, if the prison term or terms includes a mandatory term, the offender may request early release no earlier than 30 days after the offender has served all mandatory terms. 

If the total non-mandatory prison term or terms is at least two years but less than five years, the offender may request early release no earlier than six months after the offender arrived at prison to serve the term or terms; or, if the prison term includes a mandatory term, no earlier than six months after the offender has served all mandatory terms.

If the total non-mandatory prison term or terms is five years, the offender may request early release no earlier than the date on which the eligible offender has served four years of the offender's prison term; or, if the prison term includes a mandatory term, no earlier than four years after serving all mandatory prison terms.

If the total non-mandatory prison term or terms is more than five years but not more than ten years, the offender may request early release once the offender has served five years of the stated prison term; or, if the prison term includes a mandatory term or terms, not earlier than five years after serving all mandatory terms.

Lastly, if the total non-mandatory prison term or terms is more than ten years, the eligible offender may file the motion not earlier than whichever is later: (1) the date on which the offender has served one-half of the term; or (2) the date on which the eligible offender has served five years of the stated term; (3) or if the prison term includes a mandatory prison term or terms, not earlier than five years after serving all mandatory terms.

Recent Changes in the Law

Senate Bill 97 recently amended R.C. § 2929.20 to provide certain prisoners credit for time spent in jail to determine eligibility to apply for early release. Prior to September 14, 2016, offenders sentenced to a total non-mandatory prison term of five years could not request early release until they had served four years after they arrived at prison. Further, prior to September 14, 2016, offenders sentenced to a total non-mandatory prison term of more than five years but no more than ten years could not request early release until they had served five years after they arrived at prison. In other words, prior to the September 14, 2016, the judicial release clock began ticking when the offenders serving five to ten years of non-mandatory time arrived at prison. Instead, they are now getting credit for local time served for judicial release purposes.

Contact Rittgers & Rittgers

The attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers are eager to assist offenders petitioning for early release from prison. Feel free to contact us today at 513-932-2115 for your free consultation. 

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