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 OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures

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 if 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_0129-2.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