Commissioners discuss STAR option


By Frank Lewis - flewis@civitasmedia.com



In a Daily Times story this week concerning the habitual overcrowding of the Scioto County Jail, Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini was asked what role the STAR Detention Center at Franklin Furnace could play in an attempt to take a load of the Scioto County Jail.

Could STAR make a difference?

“Yes, if they would sentence them to STAR,” Donini said. “I have no clue. I’m not part of that facility. I don’t know how that works. I know STAR is more or less a drug treatment facility.”

The STAR operation moved out of the facility that is now empty to move into the closed Ohio River Valley Juvenile Detention Center. The empty building is co-owned by Scioto County and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and according to the contract it has to be used in some way as a DRC-related facility.

Davis said the county has had extensive conversations with DRC about the use of that building.

On Tuesday morning, the Scioto County Commissioners continued addressing that theme.

“The old facility is empty,” Scioto County Commissioners Chairman Bryan Davis said. “Let me say this, and there will be more about this coming out soon, we have been working for some time to find a use for that building because it’s only 15 years old. The last thing you want is for a building to set empty.”

Davis said STAR continues to keep the utilities going in that building which prevents things such as and burst water pipes. Heating and air have been running at a minimum.

“We’re hoping soon the DRC will announce something new on that in conjunction with STAR,” Davis said. “They told us a time frame so we’re working on that and we’ll have more on that as soon as we know exactly what that looks like.”

The Commissioners were asked how many people the STAR facility will house. They did not know the actual capacity, but the layout is dormitory style, and there are no actual cells. the facility has been used basically for rehabilitation, mostly drug rehabilitation.

“I think they were originally proposing to only open a certain portion,” Scioto County Commissioner Make Crabtree.

“The judges are a major piece of this too,” Davis said. “We need to get the judges to sentence people that way and they are. They do, we just have that big of a problem.”

Why does the city of Portsmouth not pay for the incarceration of inmates arrested in the city jurisdictions?

“No I can’t tell you that,” Davis said. “I don’t know the answer.”

“They sentence them under the Ohio Revised Code,” Crabtree said. “They haven’t paid for animals dropped off at the (Scioto County) Dog Pound either, so it is what it is.”

By Frank Lewis

flewis@civitasmedia.com

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.