Sexton: More home confinement practical

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Lawrence County Sher-iff Tim Sexton said he would like to see more non-violent offenders who would ordinarily be housed at the Lawrence County Jail kept instead on home confinement to save money and Lawrence County Commissioners Wednes-day indicated they are willing to help with costs.

Sexton has sent commissioners a letter detailing jail overcrowding during the month of May and early June. According to the letter, on June 4, there were 69 inmates housed at the jail in Ironton, another 10 in Scioto County, seven more in Morrow County and another six inmates housed in Washington County.

Sexton said he would like to see judges order non-violent offenders to home confinement as a way of reducing the jail population as has spoken with some of the judges about that possibility. He said 19 Lawrence County inmates might be eligible for it. Those eligible would be those incarcerated for such crimes as forgery, failure to appear in court and drunken driving.

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“If we could just pick a handful at a time,” Sexton said. “If we can reduce the inmate population by five or six a day, that would be helpful.”

If jail overcrowding is a problem for county officials, so is housing inmates out of county. Other counties with room to spare charge Lawrence County varying fees per inmate per day for housing inmates at their jails. There is also the cost of

transporting inmates to and from those jails for court appearances and the frequent addition to overtime costs for officers who must provide that transportation.

In the letter, he suggested the county commission could kick in $10,000 to help pay for the supervisory fees for indigent inmates and other costs associated with the program.

“I’m bearing the cost for everything: incarceration, corrections officers, food and medication for the inmates. I think this (home confinement) would benefit us all the way around and I think we could try and use it on a greater scale,” Sexton said Wednesday.

“I’d like to talk to Tim and see the willingness of the judges to do this,” Commission President Doug Malone said during the meeting.

“This is one of those things we can’t control,” Commissioner Jason Stephens lamented. “There is no way to control the cost of crime. The more crime, the more people committed.”