Friday, January 14, 2000

Warren jail is full again

Nine inmates now housed out of county

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Crowding at the Warren County Jail came to a head Thursday, forcing the sheriff to farm inmates out to another county for the first time since the jail was expanded four years ago.

        Sheriff Tom Ariss sent nine sentenced inmates to Miami County Jail, about 50 miles away, after the local jail went over capacity.

        “Everything was full,” Sheriff Ariss said.

        On Thursday, the Warren County jail held 172 prisoners before 8 a.m., and more were expected because several courts were in session, the sheriff said.


        The facility was built for 175 inmates but technically has space for only 169 prisoners because three holding cells and three infirmary beds must be set aside.

        Sheriff Ariss said he could not find any jail space closer after checking with facilities in Clermont, Butler, Montgomery, Clinton and Greene counties.

        Warren County is spending $45 per inmate each day they are housed in Miami County — ironically, a cost that is $10 cheaper than the daily expense to keep inmates here, Sheriff Ariss said.

        He said he didn't expect to ship more prisoners out of the county today but would as the need arose. Jail officials began taking emergency measures last weekend, when they granted early releases to two sentenced inmates, Sheriff Ariss said.

        Thursday's action came a week after county commissioners called for judges to help ease jail crowding through the use of alternative sentencing and other programs.

        At the same time, jail officials were making plans for crowding problems that included early releases and sending inmates to out-of-county jails.

        Sheriff Ariss also is seeking approval from commissioners on a $600,000 renovation project that would add 24 to 30 beds to the women's side of the jail.

        County officials have blamed fast-paced growth in the county for filling up the jail sooner than expected. When the addition was built in 1995, county officials thought it would provide sufficient space for 10 years, Sheriff Ariss said.


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