COLUMBUS: Ohios prisons director says legal changes aimed at shrinking the number of state inmates are having a slower effect than anticipated but have dropped the prison population to its lowest level since 2008.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the total prison population dipped below 49,900, down from its peak of nearly 51,300. Prison officials credit revised sentencing laws that took effect in October for helping to redirect hundreds of offenders to community programs instead of more expensive prisons.

The number of people imprisoned only for child support violations dropped by 26 percent in the first six months under the revised laws. The number of inmates imprisoned for nonviolent, low-level felonies decreased by 180.

Director Gary Mohr says hes not satisfied yet. Hed hoped to have hundreds fewer inmates by July.