Overcrowded Jail Causes Concern for Belmont County Officials

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The number of inmates is on the rise at the Belmont County jail causing for a number of issues.

The Belmont County Commission, along with county judges, sheriffs and jail officials met to discuss possible solutions on Wednesday.

The increase of inmates started three years ago, but now the jail is exceeding its capacity on a daily basis almost.  The average daily population for the month of July was 162 inmates, for the month of August the number increased to 176 inmates, which is about 32 people more than their capacity of 144. The overcrowding  is starting to cause an unsafe environment for both the staff and inmates.

In an effort to take a proactive approach, the commission met with jail officials and county judges to come up with ideas. Those ideas include using other facilities, adding more staffing for house arrests, and building a new facility. 

“We are looking at building a misdemeanor facility,but in the perfect world that’s two years out and we are faced with the gravity of the situation that is at hand, so the commissioners task is to take a look at how much we can budget to house prisoners out of county, Belmont County Commissioner President Mark Thomas said. “The short term verses the long term issue of where we will go with new facility.” 

Thomas said the new facility would be located near the Belmont County Jail.  In the meantime, they are sending inmates to the Jefferson County Jail.

On August 28th, the commissioners along with the jail officials will travel to Miami County, OH to look at their new misdemeanor facility.

Stay with 7News for updates as any decisions are made on what to do.

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