New program puts defendants to work doing much-needed projects

Belmont County

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – A lot of people are on the wrong side of the law, and there are too few spaces in the jail. It’s a national  problem, and Belmont County is facing it as well.

So, court officials announced an expanded version of their community service program. Offenders will be sentenced to do work for projects that need to be done and everybody ends up a little better.

Judge Vavra and I will be assigning people to do community service instead of incarceration when applicable and when the community is fully protected.

Judge Frank Fregiato, Court of Common Pleas Judge

We have a harder and harder time punishing criminal defendants. It costs about $90 a day to keep a person in jail. This way it actually creates a benefit to the defendants and to the community.

Judge John Vavra, Court of Common Pleas Judge

They said the workers will be cleaning up along the roads, cleaning up cemeteries, painting town halls and township buildings.

It doesn’t cost the county anything. It’s paid for by a state grant secured by Probation Officer Ed Gorrence. So is the van that will be used to transport the workers. The two van drivers are no strangers to law enforcement—retired St. Clairsville police officers Jeff Henry and Richard Fodor.

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