County to ask for state help with jail expansion

Larry Limpf

Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and the Wood County commissioners intend to submit a request to the state to help fund a major expansion project of the county jail.
Sheriff Wasylyshyn last week said he and the commissioners have been discussing an expansion for the medical and booking areas and for secure beds for females.
He said the preliminary architect’s cost estimate is about $17 million.
The County Commissioners Association of Ohio is asking sheriff departments to submit requests for funding renovations, new construction or expansions to the CCAO by Nov. 27.
The CCAO and Buckeye State Sheriffs Association are requesting the state provide $200 million for jail construction and renovation in the next biennial capital appropriations bill.
The associations are also asking the state to commit to continuing a state-county partnership over the next decade to assist counties with jail construction or renovation projects.
“We have been asked by the (DeWine) administration to submit a list of the counties that are seeking funding for new construction, expansion or renovation of their county jail(s),” the CCAO says in its November Statehouse Report.
“In the late 1980s to early 2000s, Ohio assisted counties by providing capital funding for jail construction and renovation through its biennial capital appropriations bills. It has now been 15 years since this program was discontinued. It is imperative that state capital funding support for jail construction and renovation be resumed for two major reasons – jail population and facility fatigue,” the report says.
In Ottawa County, sheriff Steve Levorchick said he is still discussing jail issues with the county commissioners but it is likely the county would seek funding. Email messages left with Lucas and Sandusky county sheriff’s offices were not returned.
Gov. Mike DeWine in June announced several steps aimed at improving Ohio’s jail inspection system, including a plan to significantly expand the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s Bureau of Adult Detention.
In March, the governor had directed the ODRC to examine the overall jail inspection process, including the operations of the bureau, which has compliance oversight for more than 300 jails and temporary holding facilities in Ohio.
The review found that the Ohio Bureau of Adult Detention is substantially understaffed relative to its workload, which includes annual, on-site inspections of local jails; the examination of citizen/inmate complaints; and the investigation of critical incidents, such as in-custody deaths, use-of-force incidents, and inmate violence.
Jail inspections by the bureau focus on inmate health, living conditions, and the safety of inmates and corrections officers. In 2018, the bureau rated 44 of 88 full-service jails as non-compliant, including the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center, which was non-compliant in 84 of 135 standards.


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