Four charged in overdose death Underage felonies strain county system Fayetteville looks forward to 2018 celebration Russellville council discusses underground tanks in village Marilyn A Wren Larry E Carter Virginia L McQuitty Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Hundreds of Narcan doses used in 2016 Heavy weekend rain causes flooding and damaged roads Child Focus hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors

Sheriff seeks overcrowding solution for Adult Detention Center

GEORGETOWN – Brown County Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger and Chief Deputy Carl Smith met with the Brown County Commissioners on Jan. 4 to discuss implication of not being allotted a variance in bed space at the Brown County Jail.

As the Commissioners and Sheriff have stated, the jail is equipped to handle just 38 inmates at a given time. Any additional inmates would be have be allowed by the Department of Corrections. Wenninger told the Commissioners the Department had been in violation of this during their inspections and faced 34 violations during a previous inspection without getting into details about those violations.

But in order to handle the increased population, the County is faced with the question of where and how to deal with the increase of inmates. The Sheriff and Chief Deputy submitted the idea of a dormitory style housing unit for low-level, non-violent offenders who fit the classification for minimum security.

“There are different things we have been looking at but we are putting everything on the table to see what works best for the citizens of this county,” Smith said. “This jail is designed to hold 38 people, period. We have had more than that in here, by far. We can’t do that, it’s not safe. What we are looking at per the Ohio Revised Code, the Commissioners are able to pick any building in the county, as long as they own it, and fortify that as long as we adhere to the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, we can make it into a minimum security facility.”

Smith said the dorm style housing could be something as simple as a space with bunk beds in a gymnasium so long as it met the standards in ORC and from the DOC. Inmates are classified upon entry into the Sheriff’s Office when arrested and their classification would determine if they qualified for the dorm style housing.

“You could have fourth and fifth degree felonies (or lower) held in this type of place,” Smith said. “As long as they go through a classification process. As long as they haven’t shown violent tendency or had any problems in our jail they could become eligible for this type of housing.”

The Department said they are trying to do the best the can to house offenders in Brown County. According to the Sheriff’s Department they spend roughly $35 per day to house inmates in the Adult Detention Center. However, the Commissioners disagree with that number by citing the cost to operate does not include expenses from the jail that do not come from the budget of the Sheriff’s Office.

The Commissioners are planning a jail task force to evaluate the best course of action for Brown County.

The idea of a regional jail has been throw around by both the Commissioners and Sheriff’s Department, citing the states has monies available to build a regional jail. The Commissioners hope the task force can evaluate the best course of action from practicality as well as financially for the residents of the county.

Smith said building a new jail to serve only Brown County could help curb the need for an increase number of inmates, citing the 75 inmates housed at the Butler County Jail from Brown County on Jan 4, but the Commissioners raised concerns of how to pay for a larger jail and questioned why Butler County had so many beds available at the time if there was a need for a larger facilities statewide.

Smith, a member of the law enforcement community for over three decades, said the increased number of offenders spurn from the increased drug problem the county in facing. He said while there has always been a drug problem, it is far worse now than when he started in Brown County in 1987.

He said at that time the jail population could be around 25 to 30 inmates now it regularly exceeded 70 inmates daily in the jail. On average, 160 offenders per month made their way through the Brown County Adult Detention Center. The problem all comes back to the drug epidemic.

“There isn’t a town in Brown County you can’t buy heroin in,” Smith said. “They might have to go out of town to get it, but you can buy it here or any surrounding county.”

In June, Smith conducted his own study of the population of the county jail and noted 27 percent of all male inmates were in jail for drug related offenses only, but did not count other offenses such as burglary and robberies with a high likelihood of drug involvement. On the female side, 52 percent of the inmates were incarcerated for drug only offenses.

While the jail situation plays out and taxpayers focus on the cost on operations for the facility, the larger looming drug problem goes unsolved. While housing offenders in the immediate need, eliminating offenders reduces the need for a jail.

The Brown County Commissioners met with Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger and Chief Deputy Carl Smith to discuss solutions for overcrowding at the Brown County Adult Detention Center.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_IMG_99273.jpgThe Brown County Commissioners met with Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger and Chief Deputy Carl Smith to discuss solutions for overcrowding at the Brown County Adult Detention Center. Brian Durham | Civitas Media

By Brian Durham

bdurham@civitasmedia.com

Reach Brian Durham at 937-378-6161 or on Twitter @brianD1738.

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2016 News Democrat