Archived Story

Scioto offers to house more county inmates

Published 9:37am Friday, August 2, 2013

Easing the overcrowding at the Lawrence County Jail could come from a neighbor if the commissioners approve sending more inmates and dollars to Scioto County.

Lawrence County Jeff Lawless presented a proposal from Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini that his office would open a wing of the Scioto County Jail to house 20 to 30 more prisoners on top of the 10 Lawrence County already sends there.

“Our jail continues to be overcrowded and we need to alleviate that,” Lawless told the Lawrence County Commissioners at their Thursday meeting.

Already Lawrence County has a contract with Scioto to take up to 10 prisoners for $48 each per day to cut down on the overcrowding at the jail.

“Is that negotiable? Possibly,” Lawless said

According to current state standards on minimum space requirements the jail should only house 16 prisoners. However, the state has said the county could apply for a variance to allow for 56 inmates.

In the spring Lawless did apply, but has not heard a response despite repeated attempts to find out the state’s decision.

“I think it is something definitely something to explore,” Lawless said after the meeting. “Being that close to us it could come in handy to alleviate overcrowding in our jail. It does create another problem, spending funds compared for what you could for housing them here. At this facility there is only so much space.”

Right now there are 73 inmates at the county jail; one at Morrow and 11 at Scioto County.

Last year the county spent $245,169 to house inmates at Scioto, Morrow, Pickaway and Ashland counties. So far this year $188,958 has been spent at those four counties.

The commissioners will meet at their Tuesday work session to review the proposal.

In other action the commissioners:

• Approved awarding the Chesapeake sidewalk project to Fields Excavating for $76,929;

• Appointed Commissioner Freddie Hayes to the tobacco settlement advisory board;

• Approved the loan forgiveness program for installation of septic system to Janie Lewis, Thomas Abner and Theresa Hill;

• Approved contract between county and Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization;

• Accepted the weekly dog warden report where 23 dogs were adopted or went to rescue; one dog was destroyed and none were redeemed by their owners.

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