Thursday, October 26, 2000

Warren Co. jail adding 14 beds

Sheriff, board at odds on crowding

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Beds for 14 inmates should be installed at the Warren County Jail by week's end to help ease crowding, Sheriff Tom Ariss said Tuesday.

        County workers began installing the bunks Monday after the sheriff's office received them on special order from the Lebanon Correctional Institution.

        Operation of the jail has put the sheriff and county commissioners at odds in the last month, after commissioners cut off the sheriff's allowance to house an overflow of inmates in other counties.

        Those actions prompted Sheriff Ariss to order the release of some prisoners.

        Commissioners responded two weeks ago by ordering bunks, but the Sheriff Ariss barred county employees from installing them.

        The sheriff contended that those beds violated a special permit from the state to allow an increase in prisoners.

        Meanwhile, county commissioners have applied for nearly $7 million through a state grant program for additions and renovation that would more than double jail capacity to 358 inmates.

        The jail, expanded in 1996 from 77 to 159 beds, was expected to have enough space for 10 years. However county population growth — at 35 percent since 1990 — outpaced estimates on needed space, county officials said.


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