Friday, April 05, 2002

Halfway house built in Warren

By Sheila McLaughlin,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        TURTLECREEK TWP. — Warren County will become a temporary home in fall to 72 felons who are released from prison or sentenced by county judges.

        A new state-funded halfway house for men is to open in mid-September on county-owned land next to the Community Correctional Center (CCC) on Ohio 63, state correction officials said.

        Construction is under way on the $2.7 million, 18,627-square-foot facility, which will be run by Talbert House. The non-profit Cincinnati agency already operates CCC, a prison for non-violent offenders from Warren, Butler and Clermont counties.

        The new halfway house is intended to provide a more familiar setting for offenders from rural areas, said Alicia Handwerk, an administrator for the state correction department's community residential programs.

        Such facilities also are meant to free up prison space for more hard-core offenders.

        Just-released non-violent felons will stay for about three months while they hone job skills, try to find employment, and receive counseling, medical treatment or substance-abuse treatment. The facility also will serve as another sentencing tool for county judges who do not want to send a defendant to prison, yet want more control than probation.

        Offenders will be from Warren, Butler, Clermont, Darke, Miami, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Preble, Ross and Fayette counties, Ms. Handwerk said.

        The Warren County site is a unique venture for the state, being the first halfway house planned from scratch instead of in renovated space, she said. It will be used as a prototype for the future.

        The general contractor on the project is Whalen Inc., of Milford.


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