XENIA — Greene County officials are looking into bringing one of the county’s detention facilities up and running at full operational status, a move that one official has estimated will cost more than $1 million for 2016.
Currently the Greene County Adult Detention Center is operating at about half capacity, with about 120 of its approximately 240 beds filled each night. The minimum-medium direction supervision facility first opened in 2000 as a second detention facility for the county. In 2009, county budget cuts forced the facility to cut its operational load in half, where it has remained ever since.
In a letter sent to Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer last week, Greene County Commissioners expressed interest in re-opening the facility’s two “pods” that currently sit empty, which would double the facility’s current capacity.
“Getting the facility fully re-opened and operational has been identified by the County Commissioners as a priority for 2016,” the letter stated. “…It is the goal of the Commissioners to fund this operation long-term as long as the need exists and there is not a severe decrease in funding to the County.”
Commissioners asked Fischer for a detailed budget for the facility’s operation, which would include funds for hiring and training the staff required for the re-opening, as well as any additional materials and supplies needed for the space. Fischer said Tuesday that bringing the facility back to full operation would mean adding 10 corrections officers and a nurse, and said that a year of those two pods running fully operational would cost about $1.3 million.
Fischer estimated that between eight and 10 individuals are being released from county custody a day because of space limitations.
“It’s just not the sheriff saying we need to open the jail,” he said. “This is the judges needing a place to put violators of crime. One of the reasons you have a jail in the first place is … if somebody commits a crime, where do they go for their punishment?”
“Probation is not always the best option. … If you take that threat away, then that’s going to increase crime. You have to have this. Hopefully we’ll reduce some of the crime rate and make people think twice.”
Depending on a funding commitment from commissioners, the process of opening the two pods would move forward with hiring and training the additional staff, which Fischer estimated would take about 20 weeks.