Saturday, January 27, 2001

Butler Co. losing inmates

Switching jails to save Hamilton $500K

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Facing a $20-per-day increase to house inmates in the Butler County jail, Police Chief Neil Ferdelman said Friday the city will begin sending some of its inmates to the Miami County jail on Tuesday.

        Cash-strapped Hamilton expects to save about $500,000 with the move. Chief Ferdelman said the cost of transporting the inmates to Troy has been factored into the savings. Hamilton will pay $45 a day to house inmates in Troy, versus the $55-per-day rate the county now charges. That rate will increase to $75 on Thursday.

        Hamilton paid $1.3 million last year to keep inmates in Butler County. Chief Ferdelman said city officials were forced to look at other options or pay a projected $1.8 million in fees this year.

        “This created a major concern for us,” he said.

        The chief said the number of inmates to be taken to Troy was not known. Butler County will continue to house inmates arrested by Hamilton police on charges from other jurisdictions at no cost to the city.

        Troy is about 60 miles north of Hamilton.

        Butler County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Rick Jones said the city's decision will help alleviate chronic crowding at the jail. “We've got them laying on the floor now, so it's not going to hurt us (financially) any,” he said.

        He said the county's new jail will be completed in 14 months.

        Twenty percent of Butler County's inmates come from Hamilton, Chief Deputy Jones said. Last year, more than 1,500 inmates from Hamilton stayed in the main county jail and in the county's minimum security jail.

        City officials are facing a projected $1.5 million shortfall in the 2001 general fund because of last year's decisions by International Paper and Ohio Casualty Insurance to cut a significant amount of their work forces.

        International Paper is shutting an office complex in Hamilton, eliminating 350 jobs.


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