A Guernsey County Commissioner issued a statement on talk of a multi county jail idea that was revealed during Monday’s Muskingum County Commissioner meeting.
Commissioner Dave Wilson says at this point such a project is only an idea, there is not a proposal nor any plans.
Guernsey County Commissioner Dave Saft says there has yet to be a face-to-face meeting, but there is mutual interest. Saft says he initiated the discussion with Muskingum County Commissioner Jim Porter, who thought it was a worthwhile idea to pursue.
Wilson says one of the reasons a new multi-county jail is being considered is a directive from the Director of the Ohio Department or Rehabilitation and Correction, Gary Mohr, who stated the state will not be building any more prisons.
*** Press Release from Guernsey County Commissioners Below***
With the 66-bed Guernsey County Jail’s population regularly peaking at over 100 inmates, the Guernsey County Commissioners have been investigating various means of addressing the over-population.
Commissioner Dave Wilson and Captain Jeremy Wilkinson from the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office attended a meeting in Columbus last year during which the Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ORC), Gary Mohr, told those in attendance that the state will not be building any more prisons.
Further-more, the Director’s stated goal is to reduce Ohio’s prison population from over 50,000 to 35,000 inmates. According to the ORC website, the population (As of January 22, 2018) stands at 49,385. A major reason for the drop is that the state is requiring more criminals to be incarcerated in local jails, as Columbus continues to shift a greater financial burden onto local governments.
For that reason, the Guernsey County Commissioners have begun looking at possible solutions to our local over-crowding issue.Guernsey County Commissioner Dave Saft initiated a discussion with Muskingum County to see if there’s any interest in a multi-county jail. Muskingum County Commissioner Jim Porter thought it was a worthwhile idea and stated he would see if any other neighboring counties were interested in a possible regional facility.
At this point, such a project is only an idea. There is no proposal nor any plans. In fact, there has yet to be a face-to-face meeting. “There’s definitely a mutual interest,” said Saft. “We’re anxious to sit down and see what possibilities are there.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner Wilson has talked informally with the Monroe County Commissioners about possibly leasing beds in their newly-constructed jail. “They built their jail with additional capacity with the idea of renting out beds,” Wilson stated. “They are definitely interested but have not yet presented us with cost involved.”
Guernsey County’s Commission President Ernest “Skip” Gardner, says it all comes down to how we can most effectively use taxpayer dollars. “With Columbus pushing for more consolidation of local government resources,” Gardner said, “we’re hoping that state dollars might become available for a multi-county jail facility.”