You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

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

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton reveals prostate cancer: What is it, can it be cured?
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton reveals prostate cancer: What is it, can it be cured?

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton told a group of reporters Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with  prostate cancer, a day after he fainted while delivering his State of the State address in front of the Minnesota Legislature. Dayton said he was diagnosed with the disease last week, but doctors told him it did not appear that the cancer had spread past...
Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients
Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients

A Charlotte, North Carolina, attorney accused of having sex with several of his immigration clients has been disbarred, officials said. Court documents show the clients he targeted were "especially vulnerable." According to the court filing, attorney Chris Greene voluntarily surrendered his license after he agreed that he could not defend...
Does White House press secretary Sean Spicer have a vendetta against Dippin' Dots?
Does White House press secretary Sean Spicer have a vendetta against Dippin' Dots?

Former chief strategist and communications director of the Republican National Committee Sean Spicer doesn't seem to have an affinity for Dippin' Dots ice cream. >> Read more trending stories   The current White House press secretary has taken to Twitter on numerous occasions to express his distaste for the self-proclaimed...
Sales of George Orwell's '1984' surge after Kellyanne Conway's 'alternative facts' comments
Sales of George Orwell's '1984' surge after Kellyanne Conway's 'alternative facts' comments

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report. During an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC's "Meet the Press," counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said White House press secretary Sean Spicer's comments about the size of the crowd that attended the inauguration of Donald Trump were "alternative facts."  People quickly...
Technology, history and our future

Reader Bill Brown wrote in about our discussion a while back about history, English majors and the modern day. “Technology allows us to accomplish tasks faster, cheaper and more efficiently. Great … except when it’s not. Humans are flawed creatures. We have many wonderful traits, and we also have some really nasty ones. Students...
More Stories