In order to keep beds full and costs down, Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio board members approved the acceptance of federal inmates at their recent meeting.
The move allows Executive Director Jim Dennis to contract with the U.S. Marshals Service to hold inmates in appropriate housing based on security risks. It was emphasized that the classification of such inmates must balance the public’s needs for protection while providing for the safety of staff, all inmates, and the immediate surrounding communities, as well as the overall security of CCNO.
A special ad hoc committee recommended the contract which was also approved by the finance overview committee. Under the proposal, CCNO will provide 10 beds for federal inmates at a per diem rate of $90. The current CCNO member per diem rate is $72. The 10-bed limit may be exceeded only if appropriate housing is available.
Under the proposal, if a federal inmate poses a disciplinary problem on a continual basis, or represents a significant threat to CCNO, that inmate will be removed.
Dennis said last week’s population stood at 597 or 94 percent, a record high for 2017. He said the population stood at 526 in February and climbed to 587 in March.
“Business is really good at CCNO,” he said.
Dennis said CCNO needs to diversify its beds to include involving offenders from member counties, state, and federal levels to keep beds full and costs down since the City of Toledo is no longer a member.
Board members also approved sending a letter of intent to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to continue the five-county regional prison diversion program at CCNO. These are local offenders sentenced by local courts. The pilot project diverts 254 offenders in a given year from prison into an intense substance abuse treatment program for low-level, non-violent fourth and fifth degree felons.
During the meeting, some board members discussed the need for additional grant dollars to cover all treatment costs involved with the special pilot program. The new grant application will look into obtaining more finances to offset CCNO’s per diem and program costs.
Mr. Dennis said there are few treatment facilities and the CCNO pilot program is unique in the criminal justice system. He said offenders who may have failed in community based corrections facility or other treatment centers have another opportunity at CCNO that can make a huge difference in their future.
In other business, board members accepted a bid of $15,742 from Don-Lors Electronics to upgrade the television system from analog to high definition as current equipment will expire. Members also accepted a low bid of $18,540 from Energy Control to replace the tube bundle for a water heater.
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