• 46°

County must fix jail flaws

It is often said that crime doesn’t pay but that doesn’t mean that it is cheap. In fact, keeping criminals off the streets in Lawrence County is a very expensive proposition.

County officials just got the bill from Scioto County for housing the overflow of inmates who cannot be accommodated here in Lawrence County’s Jail.

While Lawrence County typically spends about $20,000 a month to send inmates to Scioto County’s facility, March’s tab was $31,669. That is on the heels of February’s $26,379 charges, both of which exceeded the amount budgeted.

Lawrence County has budgeted $300,000 this year toward the housing of overflow inmates. That is a sizeable amount of money that the county spends that doesn’t benefit tax payers one bit.

We urge county leaders to take a long, hard look at other options that would take this money and invest it toward a long-term solution rather than continuing to purchase these costly Band-Aids.

The county has several options that include renovating the current facility and moving the administrative offices, renovating another facility in town such as the soon-to-be vacant Ironton Board of Education Office or simply building an entirely new facility.

If the county is currently spending $300,000 a year, that money would go a long way toward paying a monthly bond payment for a modern facility that would ultimately be more efficient, more affordable to maintain and better for the inmates.

And every dollar spent would go toward paying Lawrence County corrections officers and be invested in our county employees rather than going to Scioto.

It would be a burden during the construction or renovation phase because the county would still have to pay for the inmates to go to Scioto County, but it would be a smart investment for the future.

Crime won’t go away. Neither will the criminals. We need to make sure we are spending the money to deal with them as efficiently as possible.