Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Clermont to charge inmates for stays

County to recover some costs

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA — Crime doesn't pay, and criminals in Clermont County are about to.

        Following recent approval of the county commissioners, the county in January will begin charging inmates for their incarceration in Clermont County Jail.

        The charge: a maximum of $57 a day, plus damage restitution.

        Clermont joins only a few counties in Ohio, including Hamilton, that have a pay-for-stay program. It is thought to be the first in Ohio to enforce collections through a social service agency.

        The Clermont County Department of Human Services will be responsible for collections.

        “We're looking at it more as a total justice program to help us best serve all the people involved, not just the inmate,” Tom Albers, director of human services, said Tuesday. “We'll always keep in mind the needs of the family.”

        Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg said Tuesday that it was difficult to estimate the program's cost benefit, but that a portion of the funds collected would befunneled back into jail costs.

        The system will work this way: Inmates upon release will get a “bill” and a payment plan through Human Services. Collections will be based on a sliding, ability-to-pay system. Money will not be taken from child support, victims' restitution or any other prior court-ordered obligations.

        In fact, officials see the pay- for-stay as a key to getting and keeping former inmates in a program to maintain child support. According to the project proposal provided to commissioners, there are 245 felony nonsupport cases that could be targeted for work-activity requirements.

        The county now incurs a significant cost from placing children of inmates. In 1997, for instance, 36 children were placed at a cost of $294,038. That increased to $323,767 last year and was expected to grow this year to $542,960.

        Money collected will go into the county's general fund. The jail, however, is expected to benefit. It now has about 330 inmates for a facility with a capacity of 264.

        Earlier this year, the county contracted with Morrow and Pickaway counties to house some of its less-dangerous inmates at a cost of about $55 a day.

        That contract expires Dec. 31. The annual cost of maintaining that arrangement would be about $700,000 annually, Sheriff Rodenberg said.

        The pay-for-stay program “certainly would help out,” he added.


Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Qualls says goodbye to City Hall
FOP backs down in conflict with cop-killing lawyer
Holiday travel rush is on
Granny D walks nation for campaign finance reform
Property values up 15 percent
Taft proposes report card for state's colleges
Taft wants to unplug electric chair
Zoo's new baby is Chaka's legacy
250 protest planned Hustler store
Bitterness follows superintendent's hiring
Thieves get $300,000 in jewels
'Toy Story 2:' Woody and gang faster, funnier
'End of Days' gutsy, gore-packed action flick
'Flawless' brilliantly acted, but plot just too predictable
'Princess Mononoke' subtle tale for grown-ups
'The Straight Story:' A simple movie about people
Bob Braun retiring from broadcasting
Calling cards come with picture of Pope, prayers
Shania Twain repetitive, but still real
TV news: Just say 'I don't know'
72 elementary schools win grants
Accused teacher won't return to class
'Big Five' spending is approved
Boyfriend sent to prison in murder
- Clermont to charge inmates for stays
Exotic dancer sues Blue Ash
Home rule plays well in Union Twp.
Kenton housing plan advances
Ludlow trying to remedy water woes
Mason will check draw on aquifer
Newport police union takes contract squabble public
Southgate superintendent wins Ky. honor
Suspect held in library attacks
Three Rivers may put 8.2-mill levy on ballot
Trenton agog as Edgewood aims for title