By Wayne Allen
Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn told Scioto County Commissioners Doug Coleman and Skip Riffe Thursday morning that his office would have a preliminary legal opinion on what can be done about Lawrence County’s intention to open a jail in Scioto County.
“We should have something preliminary for the commissioners next week. I do mean preliminary, I don’t know if we’ll be ready to take action next week, but two assistant prosecutors spent Tuesday afternoon and most of the day yesterday (Wednesday) researching some of the constitutional issues and we will continue to look at that today and tomorrow” Kuhn said.
Kuhn indicated the preliminary opinion will give the commissioners an idea on what route they could take.
With the passage of House Bill (H.B.) 483 the Lawrence County Sheriff was given jurisdiction over the Liberation Unit at the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility and the Lawrence County Prosecutor was given jurisdiction to prosecute crimes that occur in the Liberation Unit. H.B. 483 was passed by the House of Representatives, the Senate and signed into law on June 16. This provision will go into effect on Sept. 15.
“To have the bill stuck in the middle of the senate committee, although when you look at the records of the Legislative Service Commission it’s not entirely clear how this amendment even got to be in that bill,” Kuhn said. “You would think they would have given the citizens of Franklin Furnace a courtesy call to say hey someone’s going to operating a jail in your neighborhood and your local officials are not going to have any say over it, that bothers me.”
Kuhn said his office would have information for the commissioners, but was not certain if it would be available for public consumption. He said the information would contain ideas of where the commissioners could take this issue.
Also on the commissioners approved a contract that would allow Jackson County to house male and female inmates in the Scioto County Jail. Male inmates will be housed at $55 a day and female inmates at $60 a day.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT