Irvin E Stiens Myrtle L Lane Ralph L Davidson August J Pace Carl R Brown Phyllis J Beard Lady G-Men complete sweep of Tigers in SBAAC Nat’l Division G-Men pluck Cardinals, 6-4 Warriors climb to 4-1 in SHAC with victory over North Adams Broncos rally in 7th for 5-4 win over Batavia Blue Jays still in search of first win Three million dollar jail expansion planned Higginsport enforcing speed with camera Unemployment rate falls in county, southern Ohio Varnau not restricted from talking online about Goldson case Rockets fall to 4-1 in SHAC with loss to North Adams Bronco tennis team tops Bethel-Tate, 5-0 Lady G-Men rise to 7-4 with win at Goshen Lady Broncos’ big bats hammer out 11-0 win over Batavia G-Men showing improvement Keith Shouse Diane L Steele August Hensley Louise R Murrell Fire strikes Mt. Orab Bible Baptist Church Grant Days 2017 attractions Man accused of sex crime, giving pot to kids Ten indicted by Brown County Grand Jury 5th Annual Rick Eagan Memorial 5K Run/Walk coming up in May Birds of Prey Three sentenced in common pleas court John H Young II Sally A Gibson Barbara Burris Mary Ann Napier Martha L Newland Marlene Thompson Patricia A Firrell Kellie J Berry Mt. Orab, Hamersville students take part in ‘Hoops for Heart’ Eastern players take part in District 14 All-Star Games DeWine meets with local officials Eastern Superintendent praises students accomplishments during board meeting Local author’s story appears in new book Four sentenced in common pleas court Three to run for Municipal Judge Grant Days 2017 coming in April Lincoln’s Generals at Grant Days Brenda R Harris Mock crash staged at Georgetown High School Georgetown to hire eighth full time police officer Reception honoring Becky Cropper April 2 PRC to host annual community supper Rockets blast past the Blue Jays Georgetown hosts ‘season opener’ track and field invite Lady Rockets cruise to 10-0 win over Ripley Lady Warriors, Lady G-Men split games in season opener double-header Bobby A Reed Harold L Barger Ralph M Gaither Stranded students rescued by Brown County cooperation 4-H Teen Ambassador Dunning attends SHOT Show Veterans Service Commission invites veterans to seek help with benefits Unemployment rate rises in Brown County Pick a Lollipop, help a dog A season to remember G-Men hit the field for first baseball scrimmage Eastern’s Rigdon, Purdy earn AP SE District Div. III honors New blocking, kicking rules address risk minimization in high school football Judy A Schneider James M Darnell Lawanda R Truesdell Paul E Grisham Arrelous R Rowland Dennis E Stivers David M Daniels Fayetteville man is charged with child porn April 1st Grand Opening for Jacob’s Ladder Resale Boutique in Georgetown Talent Show auditions at Gaslight Theatre Nine indicted by county grand jury Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall visit coming next May to BC Fairgrounds In it to win it! Bronco wrestlers end season on successful note Eastern’s Hopkins finishes 5th in long jump at OATCCC State Indoor Track and Field Meet SBAAC awards academic all-stars, winning teams Marvin D Atkin Beverly S Flatt Jessie M Sanders Leroy Deck Sr Jody A Towler Sherman E Young Kenneth C Burton Varnau’s face second defamation suit Attorney General to visit Georgetown schools Clermont County GOP hosts Wenstrup, DeWine at dinner Fatal car crash in Adams County BC Chamber welcomes new Cricket Wireless store to Mt. Orab Aberdeen Council approves 2017 budget Royce K Zimmerman Lady Warriors advance to Elite 8

Task Force set to evaluate ‘true cost’ on inmate confinement

GEORGETOWN – After a tour of the Brown County Adult Detention Center on Monday, Feb. 8, the Jail Task Force met in Georgetown at the office of the Brown County Commissioners. One change to the Task Force was the name. They are now the Criminal Justice Task Force, after evaluating what the Task Force has on its plate, they felt the name change was justified to the cause.

Not only is the Task Force looking at facilities, but they are looking at all aspects of what it takes to operate a jail. They have the jail, the courts, and policing as part of public safety for the county.

However, the immediate task at hand is to evaluate the facility. After their last meeting, before any choice were made or directions were taken, the Task Force wanted the numbers of what it cost to operated the Brown County Adult Detention Center. Task Force Chairmen Paul Hall and fellow Task Force Jim Myers were “tasked” with finding out that information. Their numbers came back raised eyebrows in the room. Hall said the numbers were as close as they could get, but something are just not tracked as efficiently and effectively as they could be. For the year, the numbers run that is cost about $2 million to operate the jail. Now the Sheriff’s Department operates on just under a $3 million budget. However, there are cost covered by the County that do not come from the budget of the Sheriff’s Office. Things such as utilities, health insurance, PERS, liability insurance, and maintenance are all things handled through County General Funds. Myers and Hall said that with a population at only 38 inmates, the cost per person per day is roughly $145, significantly higher than the Sheriff’s Office reported $35 per inmate per day figure.

“It is my belief, as of today, unless we make major changes, we need to get out of the jail business,” Hall said to the Task Force. “At $140 per day, it’s not what I want to do, but the new Sheriff and unions aren’t willing to work with us the only option I see is to shut her down. We can’t operate at $140 per day (per inmate). Even if we get the State to say ‘you can double bunk’, you’re still at $70 per inmate per day.”

The numbers given to the Task Force by Hall and Myers revealed a cost of $78 per day for 70 prisoners, $68 per day for 80 prisoners, and $61 per day for 90 prisoners. Hall emphasized to the Task Force these were only approximate numbers, but close. He said given some of the way funds are distributed and paid for by the county, it was impossible to pinpoint to the exact dollar amount the cost of the jail only. The Task Force next task is to determine which direction to take on the facility. The newest idea is expanding the existing building with dormitory style cells, like what had been done at the Clinton County Jail.

“Clinton County would love to have us come up,” Hall said. “What they have done, is built a dormitory style jail with much fewer staff than we are using for sure. What they are basically using is one female and two males for 40 prisoners per dorm. Much more efficient. That is one thing.”

Hall also said Clinton County used a non-profit organization to help them evaluate the problems with jailing and to build an efficient facility. The Clinton County Jail opened in 2000 and has 88 beds. The facility uses dormitory style housing for the inmates and was build to use the least amount of man power to get the most work. The Brown County Adult Detention Center is not designed in a way to minimize staffing to maximize results. Currently, there are 12 correctional officers working at the Brown County Jail full time despite being closed, with the exception of holding cells. Twenty-one inmates passed through the holding facility on Feb. 8 as they prepped for their court appearances. The Sheriff did lay off four full time correctional workers and four part-time jail workers but has not laid off any other workers despite a jail not in operation. The Task Force called it a shoving match between the Sheriff and the County Commissioners.

“This County cannot afford to fund people’s salaries and benefits for an empty jail and pay Butler County $140,000 a month,” Commissioner President Barry Woodruff said. “Something is going to have to give.”

Willo, the company contracted to repair the jail, is working to get the facility reopened during the month of April. They began work last week and are continuing to work to get the jail doors repaired. According to their estimation, retrofitting the doors would be a 45 day process if they were not met with any snags along the line. Even once the jail opens, the Task Force will have the unfortunate task of suggesting where to go from there.

“It is difficult to decide where we are going until we decide what we are going to do,” Hall said. “We can start talking about anything until we find out what we can do legally. If we have 38 inmates back there or 76, it is really going to make it or break it for us.”

Woodruff said the problem of over crowding isn’t a Brown County problem, it is an Ohio problem. The state is no longer tracking the number of inmates in state prisons, however, the are forcing restrictive numbers of counties and then fining counties who exceed their allotted amount. Woodruff said countries know the state won’t shut them down, but will dock money from them. That leads to inmates being packed like sardines in county jails across the State of Ohio.

The Task Force has laid out the beginnings of a plan to evaluate the options. They have suggested looking at Clermont County as an option for male inmates while housing the females in Brown County. They had suggested expanding the current facility to meet the needs of the community by adding dorm-style housing. The idea suggest the dorm style housing could add as many as 80 inmates and still have 38 housed within the current jail. The other suggestion is building a regional facility while partnering with neighboring counties to hold inmates. While all suggestions will be weighed, ultimately the direction of the Task Force falls on the taxpayer.

Every option, with the exception of housing inmates off-sit requires a substantial amount of money to move forward. Adding to the current facility is roughly estimated to cost between $5-10 million dollars while building a new facility could cost upwards of $40 million. Woodruff said the only way to get that kind of money would be a public safety levy.

The Task Force said this would be a long drawn out process. They are not going to have answers in a few meetings or a few months. Hall said he didn’t know if the Task Force could have an answer by the end of 2016. But, those involved are committed to the long-haul of ensuring the county is getting the “most bang for its buck.” At this point, all options are on the table and the Task Force is hoping to leave no stone unturned as they move forward evaluating the Adult Detention Center.

Members of the Task Force tour the Adult Detention Center prior to their meeting on Feb. 8. Commissioner Barry Woodruff tries to explain to Jim Myers the problem with the mechanisms that control the existing doors in the jail. The tour included all parts of the jail. Members saw first hand the condition of the cell blocks, plumbing, and electrical issues that the County has faced.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_IMG_0129-1.jpgMembers of the Task Force tour the Adult Detention Center prior to their meeting on Feb. 8. Commissioner Barry Woodruff tries to explain to Jim Myers the problem with the mechanisms that control the existing doors in the jail. The tour included all parts of the jail. Members saw first hand the condition of the cell blocks, plumbing, and electrical issues that the County has faced.
With only 38 inmates permitted, cost soars to over $140 per inmate, per day

By Brian Durham

bdurham@civitasmedia.com

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

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2016 News Democrat