Carol Contrada, president of the Lucas County Board of Commissioners, said last week Lucas County officials are studying the possibility of building their own jail to house offenders currently at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, but no decision has been made.
CCNO officials put out a press release Friday, Sept. 5, announcing that Lucas County is giving “serious consideration to building a 1,015-bed facility that would result in inmates from Lucas County and the city of Toledo no longer being housed at the CCNO regional jail, based on a feasibility study currently being conducted.”
Contrada confirmed that Lucas County is considering a new facility, but said any discussion of pulling out of CCNO is premature.
“That’s as far as it’s gotten, and I’m absolutely shocked that our (CCNO) partners would think otherwise,” Contrada said.
A Lucas County official familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity, said there have been problems with the Lucas County jail in downtown Toledo prac-tically since it opened in the 1970s.
In 1976, a court order directed Lucas County to control the number of inmates at the facility.
The Lucas County Jail is rated to hold 385 inmates. Inmate population can hit 480 to 500.
During such times, inmates can be found “sleeping in the booking (department) or on mattresses on the floor. It’s a very difficult situation,” the official said.
The downtown jail has come to the end of its useful life, the official said.
CCNO was built in the late 1980s and has been operated by Fulton, Defiance, Henry, and Williams counties, along with Lucas County and the city of Toledo.
CCNO houses inmates from Lucas County and Toledo that are awaiting trial or have been sentenced on misdemeanor charges.
CCNO also houses Lucas County pretrial and sentenced offenders who have committed fifth-, fourth-, and third-degree felony offenses.
Second- and first-degree felons from Lucas County are not housed at CCNO.
First- and second-degree felony crimes are more serious than third, fourth, and fifth degree crimes.
CCNO does house all level of felons for Fulton, Defiance, Henry, and Williams counties, unless each county’s judges have sentenced them to prison.
Included In Study
Contrada said Lucas County officials began looking at replacing the downtown jail with a new facility for pretrial offenders.
They also decided to look at the possibility of building a new facility that would house the same types of offenders that are presently at CCNO.
She said to not study the possibility of bringing those offenders back to Lucas County from the rural Stryker CCNO site would be a disservice to Lucas County taxpayers.
“Is it feasible or desirable to bring that population back? What are the costs, the risks, the benefits?” she asked.
“The first thing we needed to do was alert our partners in CCNO,” so she and John Tharp, Lucas County sheriff attended the Corrections Commission meeting on Aug. 18.
They discussed the feasibility study at that time.
Contrada said she didn’t know how the Corrections Commission staff came up with 1,015-bed number for the proposed new Lucas County Jail.
The CCNO press release states Lucas County and Toledo together own 431 beds in CCNO.
“The feasibility study being considered would build a new 440-bed facility to house sentenced inmates in addition to the proposed new 575-bed facility to house pretrial inmates.
Case For CCNO
In the press release, Jim Dennis, CCNO executive director, said the regional jail was built about 25 years ago at a cost of about $21.3 million.
That’s less than half of the estimated cost of a new 440- bed jail in Lucas County.
Dennis said CCNO routinely operates under budget.
The savings go back to the CCNO member jurisdictions.
Contrada agreed that the Corrections Commission has been a great partnership. CCNO is efficient and well run.
“I’m really pleased with the partnership,” she said.
In the press release, CCNO announced it will conduct its own feasibility study.
The study will include a review of the Lucas County study, a look at the impact on CCNO if Toledo, Lucas County, or both withdraw from the CCNO partnership, and the cost of constructing a jail in Toledo versus on the CCNO property near Stryker.
Also, the CCNO study will look into the cost-effectiveness of each facility and the impact of jobs lost to each member jurisdiction.