Ohio Pushing More Money into Jail Renovations, Buildings

by J.D. Davidson


Ohio plans to spend an additional $51 million to renovate and build jails across the state in an effort, Gov. Mike DeWine says, to create environments that reduce recidivism.

The money comes on top of $45 million the state handed out a year ago to six local jails for major construction projects. Also, another $5 million went to smaller projects at six other sites.

“Our continued investment in Ohio’s local jails is a public safety investment that benefits everyone involved,” DeWine said. “This funding will go a long way toward creating safer and more secure jails for Ohio’s communities.”

The funding is part of the Ohio Jail Safety and Security Program the General Assembly included in the state budget. The program offers grants for construction, renovation and other infrastructure projects at county jails.

DeWine said the goal of the program is to help local jails reduce recidivism by creating what he says are environments that influence positive change. This includes renovations and new construction that meet the demands of the modern criminal justice system, helping jail staff better address underlying issues that may be causing inmates’ criminal behavior, such as mental health or substance use concerns.

The grants would provide funds for counties to buy property and easements, build structures, pay for architectural, engineering and professional services and buy machinery needed for the building’s function.

A year ago, $10.1 million went to Coshocton County, $5.5 million to Gallia County, $9.1 million to Harrison County and $16.8 million to Lawrence County.

“Upgrading these jails is about more than just safety, it’s also about providing an environment that can influence positive change,” DeWine said. “These jails have fallen into such disrepair because the counties simply couldn’t afford the cost to rebuild on their own.”

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J.D. Davidson is a regular contributor to The Center Square. An Ohio native, 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.
Photo “Prison Yard” by Bart Everson CC 2.0.


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