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New ideas planted on ‘The Farm’

Just like the produce planted on its grounds, Lawrence County’s alternative-to-jail concept aptly called The Farm is quickly growing.

It is also getting its fair share of attention for a program that may not be totally unique but is certainly a rarity.

The innovative idea has quickly developed into a powerful asset for the county and sets a positive example for others across the state and the entire nation.

The Farm program was initiated this spring on land along the banks of the Ohio River on the Lawrence-Scioto County border.

Working at the farm allows non-violent criminals enrolled in the work-release program to repay their debt to society in a way that keeps them from spending long periods of time in the county jail — something that comes at great expense to the taxpayers.

The farm’s goals are to reduce overcrowding at the jail — which also helps cut costs — and provide food for the jail’s kitchen as well as the juvenile detention facility, senior centers, STAR and county food banks. There are cost savings here as well.

Everyone involved including the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and the Lawrence County courts should be commended for their willingness to think outside the proverbial box and look for holistic solutions to the problems facing the county.

It isn’t often that Lawrence County can stand out among Ohio’s other 87 counties but this is certainly a time when it can.