by J.D. Davidson
Ohio plans to spend $1.2 million to try to stop youngsters from escaping the Department of Youth Services parole supervision and quickly find them if they do, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday afternoon as part of another $5.7 million in law enforcement funding.
The money, coming from the state general fund and the federal American Rescue Plan Act, is expected to be used by DYS to develop the new Community Intervention and Intelligence Unit. It will work with local law enforcement to find and reengage with youth who have active warrants not abiding by terms of parole.
“Law enforcement agencies have created innovative and strategic initiatives to prevent and disrupt crime across the state,” DeWine said. “Each agency’s needs may be slightly different, but they share a common goal of creating safer communities, and my office is proud to support them.”
According to Ohio Policy Matters, the number of youth in prisons operated by DYS dropped from more than 2,500 in 1992 to 530 in 2019. According to cincinnati.com, there were 228 teens on parole in the state as of April.
Ohio Policy Matters, a research and policy group based in Cleveland, reported the state spends more than $96 million annually on its three large youth prisons, an average of $258,000 per youth at an average stay of 15.5 months.
Also, more than $110,000 will go to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office to buy technology to help get digital evidence from cellphones and other electronic equipment.
The rest of the $5.7 million in grants will go to 14 agencies across the state to help maintain current staffing levels, recruit new officers and continue ongoing public safety services aimed at preventing violent crime.
It’s the sixth round of law enforcement grants handed out since late April, totaling $28.7 million to 99 agencies across the state. Another $29.3 million is expected to be given away this year.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.