Home In prison for the holidays
Some news from Ohio. Not what I'd like to be doing on Christmas day.
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Twenty-three people who took plea agreements to avoid prison time in Franklin County will get a taste of life behind bars this Christmas — by spending the holiday in jail.
As part of their sentences from Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook, the men and woman agreed to spend four days, including Christmas, in jail each year they are on probation. The judge even has a name for it: a "Holbrook holiday."
Holbrook says he got the idea from a federal prison program that makes convicts on probation serve national holidays behind bars.
"I wanted to send a message to those who were borderline and may have a chance to go to prison. If they're not Christian in nature, I can use some other day, like their birthday," Holbrook said. "It's a reminder of where they could be going, if nothing else."
People given the deal must report to jail on Dec. 22 and will be released on Dec. 26.
Those who follow the rules can get out of going back to jail for another Christmas, while those who break them can get sent to prison, said Brian Stein, a senior probation officer.
"He gives us the discretion to decide," Stein said. "It's an alternative to prison, so I've never had anybody really complain."
Only two of the 15 people required to spend Christmas in jail last year failed to show up. Five of them have earned a pass this year.