COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Annette Chambers-Smith announced Friday the state is awarding six local jails with millions in funding to rebuild or expand their facilities.
A total of $50 million was allocated to support local jail renovations in Senate Bill 310 which was passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Governor DeWine in December 2020. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (ODRC) Bureau of Adult Detention administered the application process and selected jails based on those with the greatest need for construction and renovation work to improve conditions and operations. The ability of each jail to serve neighboring jurisdictions was also considered.
The following counties are receiving grants to assist in building new jails due to the age and condition of their current county jail facilities:
Coshocton County – $10.1 million
Gallia County – $5.5 million
Harrison County – $9.1 million
Lawrence County – $16.8 million
“Upgrading these jails is about more than just safety, it’s also about providing an environment that can influence positive change,” said Governor DeWine. “These jails have fallen into such disrepair because the counties simply couldn’t afford the cost to rebuild on their own. With this help from the state, the improved county jails will better meet the demands of our modern criminal justice system and better address inmates’ underlying issues that may be causing criminal behavior, such as mental health or substance use concerns.”
Two multi-county jails are receiving funding to expand their facilities to better serve neighboring counties:
Scioto County Jail – $1.5 million
Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail – $1.9 million
Scioto County will receive capital funding in the amount of $1.5 million for the creation of a new minimum-security jail for women. The project will convert an existing building into a female-only facility to address the growing need for female housing. This facility will be developed with an emphasis on behavioral and substance abuse programming in partnership with the local social service providers. They also plan to assist the population with the transition from incarceration to post-release. This project will also serve surrounding counties.
“These capital construction and improvement projects will enhance the operations of each of these jails, providing greater service to several counties throughout Ohio,” said ODRC Director Annette Chambers-Smith. “Many of these counties are part of Ohio’s Appalachian Region, and overall investment in this region continues to be a priority of the DeWine-Husted Administration.”
“We are truly honored to have been selected to receive this grant award,” said Coshocton County Sheriff James Crawford. “Words alone cannot express how thankful we are and what this means for the future of Coshocton County.”
“This announcement has come at the right time for the taxpayers of Harrison County. For several years, we have been pulling deputies off patrol to transport inmates all over the eastern side of the state and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in housing costs at other facilities including Jefferson County, Muskingum County, Monroe County, and even as far away as Mahoning County,” said Harrison County Sheriff Ronald Myers. “Now, with this generous funding opportunity, we will be building a state-of-the-art, full-service facility to house our own inmates, which will allow the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office to be available to provide the service our community deserves.”
ODRC will direct the remaining $5 million in capital funding to address smaller-scale safety issues at other jails in Ohio. ODRC’s Bureau of Adult Detention will work with county and local jails to identify issues that need to be addressed.
The Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association and County Commissioners Association of Ohio assisted ODRC with the development of the grant application.