By Wayne Gates –
The Brown County Jail has passed the final inspections and will open next week.
Inmates will return on June 15 after the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the local fire marshall signed off on the jail improvements on June 7.
“Everything has been approved. I couldn’t ask for a better result than what we had. We intend to open our doors on June 15 and bring our inmates home,” said Chief Deputy Carl Smith.
He said that the inmates will be brought back to the Brown County Jail twelve at a time in county transport vans.
The jail will be all male facility with a capacity of 68. All females will remain in Butler County as will any male prisoners over a count of 68.
We are going to try to send sentenced individuals to Butler County and keep those who have to go to court often here in Georgetown,” said Smith.
Smith took this reporter on a brief tour of the renovated facility, stopping at a new control panel that can open any individual cell without the corrections officer having to enter the cell block.
With one flick of a switch, the doors opened smoothly and quietly.
The cell blocks are also painted and cleaned, with mattresses and other supplies in individual cells waiting for inmates.
Smith said that he was glad to see the project so close to completion, and praised the Brown County Commissioners for their involvement and commitment.
“I think that everybody worked together very well. We knew what needed to take place to make this happen and we did it.” Smith said.
“The benefits are that we won’t have an hour and a half trip one way. We don’t have the possibility of having an accident or vehicle failure on the road.”
Smith also said he was tired of people trying to find fault with the $1.5 million dollar, seven month ordeal.
“I have been asked several times whose fault it is that the jail got into this kind of shape. I don’t know. I do know who got it fixed. We did,” he said.
Brown County Commission President Barry Woodruff also said he was glad to see the project wrapping up.
“The doors were the beginning of the problem. But when we got everybody out, we literally looked at every system from HVAC to electrical to plumbing and worked to get it where it needs to be. It’s a difference of night and day back there,” Woodruff said.
He added that he was proud of the fact that the county did not take on one dime of debt to see the project through.
“Things are going to be tight between now and the end of the year, but we won’t leave a different set of commissioners a bunch of mortgages,” Woodruff said.
“We fixed it without borrowing any money, we are opening it when we said we would, and we made the jail safer for inmates and employees.”
The jail was shut down in October of last year, following a complaint by a corrections officer that the jail was an unsafe working environment because of faulty door locks.