breaking news

Clark County council votes against merging 2 clerk of courts offices

Clark County spends to save on inmates

Re-entry program seeks to prevent repeat offenders and reduce jail population.


Clark County commissioners will spend $75,000 on a new initiative to reduce the revolving door of inmates at the local jail.

The funds will go to Reentry Coalition at Opportunities for Individual Change of Clark County, which works to reduce the recidivism rate in the community by providing services to local offenders in state and federal prisons and upon their release.

The new initiative could save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars and allow the re-entry coalition to also serve offenders in the county jail, where about 5,000 inmates are booked each year.

“We need to do something about over-population in the jail. We need to do something about the revolving door,” said Commissioner David Hartley, who is also a part of the coalition. “We’ve got to do something, and I can’t see anything on the horizon where we can build a new jail or a larger jail.”

The Reentry Coalition has received about $2 million in grants since its creation two years ago, but those funds are reserved for programs that aid offenders sentenced to federal and state prisons.

OIC Executive Director Michael Calabrese said the $75,000 from the county will allow the organization to provide similar services to county jail inmates, including, job training, behavioral change programs and access to mental health and alcohol and drug treatment.

He also said municipal court judges will be able to use the programs to augment sentences.

“It’s not just incarceration. They are getting meaningful correction while they’re receiving punishment,” Calabrese said.

“We’re going to teach them new ways to react to situations. These are skills they have either never learned or have forgotten.”

Re-entry supporters say the initiative is needed because county jails are expected to see an uptick of inmates after a recent overall of Ohio’s sentencing laws.

Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the bill last year when the state’s prison population totaled more than 50,000 inmates.

Details of the bill included a requirement for judges to sentence nonviolent fourth- and fifth-degree felony offenders to alternative facilities, such as community-based correctional facilities and halfway houses, rather than prison.

The changes were expected to reduce prison overcrowding and save the state $46 million. But critics said the bill was soft on crime and jeopardized public safety.

Sheriff Gene Kelly has said the changes could increase the inmate population at the county jail, which currently houses about 200 inmates.

Kelly said job and behavioral programs targeting jail inmates is much needed.

“It’s about changing their lives,” Kelly said.

The county spends about $70 per day to incarcerate an inmate, Kelly said, and could save about $126,000 if the program could keep 10 inmates from re-offending for six months.

“We’ve go to break the cycle,” Kelly said.

Commissioners Rick Lohnes and John Detrick both said they support the initiative.

Detrick said the county will get a return on its $75,000 investment if the program reduces the local recidivism rate.

“If we can stop arresting people over and over again and start rehabbing them, we can save taxpayer money,” Detrick said. “We can’t just keep locking them up and letting them out, and then locking them up again. We trying to educate them on how to stay out of jail. The old way hasn’t been working.”

Lohnes said the University of Cincinnati is researching the coalition’s efforts and will release results after the organization has been in operation for three years.

He said if the coalition can reduce the recidivism rate locally, the county will save money and it will help local judicial and law enforcement officials.

“Right now this is our only avenue,” Lohnes said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Woman donates school supplies for all students at Texas school
Woman donates school supplies for all students at Texas school

A California woman donated back-to-school items for every student at a Texas school, KWTX reported. "You can't put into words how much that support means,” Rosebud Primary first grade teacher Kendra Lorenz said. Lorenz said she first connected with the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, through an online organization called ...
Secret Service investigating Missouri lawmaker’s post
Secret Service investigating Missouri lawmaker’s post

The Secret Service is investigating comments made on social media by a Missouri state senator who reportedly said she hoped President Donald Trump would be assassinated, CNN reported. Democratic State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal's comment on personal Facebook page -- “I hope Trump is assassinated -- was deleted, but it has triggered...
Man who says he lost vision after staring at eclipse issues warning to sky watchers
Man who says he lost vision after staring at eclipse issues warning to sky watchers

An Oregon man doesn’t want what happened to him to happen to who will watch next week’s solar eclipse. Lou Tomososki was watching a partial eclipse in 1962, KGW reported. He told his friend who was watching the show in the sky with him, “If you stare at it long enough the brightness goes away.” >> Read more trending news...
Police: Houston officer in trouble for DWI once posted provocative photos
Police: Houston officer in trouble for DWI once posted provocative photos

A Houston Police Department officer who was recently suspended after being charged with driving while intoxicated was previously in trouble for posting provocative photos of herself online, Chron.com reported.  Stacey Suro, 47, uploaded nearly 100 photographs -- some of them nude -- to the portfolio website ModelMayhem.com, Chron.com reported...
What’s a degree worth? Area college grads question the cost
What’s a degree worth? Area college grads question the cost

Studies show college graduates earn more than those without a degree, but you won’t convince Megan Abell of the value of her advanced education. After graduating with an associate’s degree in fashion merchandising and $85,000 in loan debt from a now defunct institution in Cincinnati, the 28-year-old Kettering resident is working at a local...
More Stories