County won’t increase number of inmates at Scioto Jail

Published 1:03 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Overcrowding still problem at facility


Lawrence County won’t be taking Scioto County up on its offer of extra beds in its seven-year-old jail.

“I have indications from the commissioner that they feel like they couldn’t afford to take on an extra contract,” Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said.

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Commission President Bill Pratt confirmed that the county will not add to its contract with Scioto.

In August, Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini said that his office would open a wing in the Scioto County Jail to house 20 to 30 more prisoners on top of the 10 inmates Lawrence County already sends there. Currently Lawrence County has a contract to take up to 10 prisoners for $48 each per day to cut down on the overcrowding at the jail.

At that time Lawless said it was possible that rate could be negotiable.

On Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. there were 76 inmates at the jail that state regulations say should house no more than 16 prisoners. So far this year the largest daily census was in July with 98 inmates.

Earlier this year the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction told the sheriff he could apply for a variance to allow 56 inmates at the county jail. However after sending two letters to the state and follow-up phone calls, Lawless has not heard about the status of the variance.

“They said ‘I will have the proper person get back to you,’” he said. “I have never received anything by mail or by phone this summer. The crowding issue isn’t going away. (The commissioners) are not going to take on extra beds at Scioto County. That leaves me in a bind about housing the prisoners.”