GEORGETOWN – The Brown County Commissioners received the latest statement from Butler County for housing inmates. For December is cost the County $130,560 to house inmates in Butler County, but good news is on the horizon.
Willo Products, the company award the job to retrofit the Brown County Adult Detention Center has began manufacturing segments of the doors and has a time table to begin work in early February. The time table to retrofit is somewhere between 30 and 45 days to finish the work on the door. As for now, the County is trying to fix other parts of the jail, including plumbing and showers to prepare for the retrofit.
Willo Products has been a well established company and has been working with corrections departments since the 1970s. The company was founded in 1945 by Melvin Ozier and Bobby Wilson. The Ozier family still maintains operations. Brother Lynn and Jack Ozier oversee operations as President and Executive Vice President of the company.
In a 2012 interview with Correctional News Jack Ozier said in the late 1970s they shifted the company’s focus 100 percent into jails and prisons. Jack Ozier called it an “emerging market.” The article referred to the Ozier’s as the “first family of corrections.”’
The company’s shift moved them to manufacturing detention products such as locks, locking devices, doors and windows. Willo Products have been used in close to 2,000 jails in the United States, Puerto Rico and internationally.
Uniquely, Willo Products not only manufactures their own product they also service and maintain them from their Alabama facility.
The company was responsible for at least one local build in Ohio. They supplied the jail doors for the Allen County jail when it was built in 1989. Building maintenance and licensed electrician Brett Casady has been responsible for maintaining those locks provided by Willo for 18 years and said he has rarely had a problem.
Casady said they have several different kinds of locking mechanisms depending on the type of cell they have. He said the most common is the rotary lock with a three step locking component. These locks have three indicators which tell a guard whether a door is locked. He said as far as parts to order, those parts have been the only things to replace in his time at the Allen County Jail.
Allen County is a much larger county, with a population of over 100,000 and a much larger jail. Casady said Allen County handles over 200 inmates at a time.
“The door locks themselves have been solid, aside from random every day uses of high traffic doors that have had to be replaced,” Casady said. “The things have taken a beating but they are still in service.”
Casady said that over time the doors that have the most use have had the most parts replaced because of normal wear and tear. He said that could be expected for any product that you use no matter if it was a jail door or parts of a car, frequent use leads to repairs. Willo manufactured the locks for Allen County, but Casady said he hasn’t had to deal with them that frequently.
“I have had to purchase three or four different times in 18 years,” Casady said. “That is really pretty much it over that time.”
But Casady said these Willo locks are much different than the ones currently on the doors at the Brown County Adult Detention Center.
“It’s my understanding that the inmates have been able to fake the status of the locks themselves, and they could not do that with these locks,” Casady said. “With my locks here, there is a series of three switches and two of the three are inside the closed lock assembly. The third one is outset the assembly on the cell lock. When the three switches are all in the proper order it goes back to master control to show they are secure. If one of those switches indicates it is not secure, it shows on master control that there is a problem.”
Casady said that over time when things are wedged in the lock it leads to problems and those parts must be replaced. In his 18 years he has never had to fully replace doors or locks, but only the indicator parts that tell the mast control the door is locked.
With Allen County being a high volume facility, it looks like the County had made the right choice in corrections products by choosing Willo. Casady said he would recommend Willo Products for anyone in corrections.