Telling a criminal he's been a bad boy and shouldn't sin again accomplishes nothing. Yet, in effect, that is what some Ohio judges are having to do with many people who appear in their courts.
Under a new state law, judges are limited in their ability to send those guilty of fourth- and fifth-degree felonies to prison.
Overcrowding at state prisons helped prompt legislators to make the change.
Probation and many forms of community service have little deterrent effect, however. That is why two common pleas judges in Lawrence County are considering a new option.
They want to be able to sentence those guilty of minor felonies to work on a state farm, producing vegetables that could be used at the local jail and in community centers.
It is an excellent idea. As the judges point out, it would teach some first-time offenders good work habits that could keep them out of court in the future.
Money is needed to try the experiment. State officials should consider providing it.