Answers sought on jail option

Published 11:16 am Friday, June 6, 2014

It has been three weeks since county leaders presented the state department of corrections with a potential lease agreement to take part of the Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility for use as a jail.

That was also about the time the state was calling for a final answer as to whether Lawrence County would move its jail to the Franklin Furnace facility.

Though the state lifted its deadline after county officials proposed the triple net lease, which would see the state maintain ownership and maintenance of the facility and cover the cost of utilities, Lawrence County has been left in the dark as to the state’s position on the proposal.

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County leaders, even after following up, have not heard a word whether the state agrees with the lease agreement — not portions of it and certainly not in its entirety.

The overcrowding and code violation problems at the jail are not going away as state officials mull over what may be Lawrence County’s best hope at a new facility.

Those same state officials who were quick to set deadlines for the county to bring the jail into compliance have now stalled the process by not imposing a deadline for themselves.

We have said before that if state leaders want Lawrence County to have a suitable jail, they need to help foot the bill.

They also need to keep the lines of communication open so county officials aren’t left treading water for an undetermined amount of time.