ZANESVILLE, Ohio – The 22-year-old Zanesville City Jail on South Street has reached its capacity and is telling those who need to serve sentences to return at later dates.
The jail has an official capacity of 56 with three additional holding cells. As of Wednesday morning, 58 inmates were incarcerated in the jail.
“If they report in and we do not have a bed available we’ll project out a month or two and give them another date,” said Chief Kenneth Miller of the Zanesville Police Department. “But that’s also determined by what charges or sentence they face. If it’s domestic violence, assault, any crime of violence, if they are a repeat offender that come to our court quite often, or a probation violation, we will make room for them and possibly release someone else on a lesser charge.”
Usually in situations like this, the city would send inmates to the Muskingum County Jail, but Chief Miller said they are facing a similar problem. Chief Miller attributes the increase in inmates to a rise in the average sentencing time. In 2015 the average time spent in the Zanesville City Jail was 25 days. So far in 2016 it’s up to 40 days.
Chief Miller, who has been with the department for close to four decades, says this is the first time he can remember the jail being at capacity. He also said that he foresees this problem continuing and that this is a trend among most city jails.
“I think it happens with any jail. When we opened in 1994 we felt 56 beds would definitely be enough. We probably were averaging 20 people a day at that time. We we’re actually renting beds out to other jails. So over that period of time our demand has increased,” said Chief Miller.
Chief Miller said the jail is equipped to build another floor to increase the number of cells, but he does not see a need for that in the immediate future.