Prison visit could be crucial step

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, April 30, 2013

If state leaders required any more evidence that southern Ohio faces a significant need for jail facilities they need only look at the fact that officials from four counties are participating in a tour later this month of a facility that could meet those needs.

Commissioners from Scioto, Lawrence, Pike and Adams counties will visit the Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility to see if all or part of the now-shuttered youth prison could be converted into a regional jail facility for adults.

This concept would address overcrowding and other structural problems here in Lawrence County that are likely mirrored elsewhere in southern Ohio.

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But this won’t happen unless the state rises to the challenge to help both develop and operate a facility of this nature.

Ideally, the jail could be some sort of collaboration between multiple counties and the state correctional system.

It shouldn’t be looked at as a way to make money but instead to provide some relief to many southern Ohio counties that are struggling to make ends meet, in part, because punishing criminals has become an expensive proposition.

It isn’t a perfect solution for a variety of reasons but it may be the best one available.