Welcome to the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio
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A letter is being sent to the City of Toledo demanding payment of $1.1 million following action taken during Monday’s lengthy meeting of the Corrections Commission of Northwest Ohio that oversees the regional jail operations.
Members met in executive session for 32 minutes to discuss pending and imminent litigation. In open session, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken made the motion directing the CCNO executive director and legal counsel to send a letter to the City of Toledo demanding payment of $1.1 million in jail fees, capital costs, penalties and interest by Oct. 3. If no payment is made, the executive director and legal counsel were authorized to take necessary legal action against the city. The vote was unanimous.
The City of Toledo and its withdrawal from CCNO highlighted several items throughout the lengthy board meeting. Members were given information regarding staffing issues, current funding and an option to fill the 228 beds abandoned by the City of Toledo.
While board members demanded payment of late bills from the City of Toledo, it opened a path for the City of Toledo to again send its inmates charged under municipal code laws to CCNO as well as other interested municipalities located in the five-county area.
Members approved a resolution allowing CCNO county members – Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas and Williams counties -- to enter into separate contracts with interested municipalities within their counties to house municipal code inmates at CCNO. This will allow Lucas County to enter into a separate agreement with the City of Toledo – as well as Sylvania, Maumee and Oregon -- to house the municipal code violators at CCNO. The per diem rate was estimated at $73.12.Williams County Commissioner Al Word said when you think of what the City of Toledo put the board and staff through, he questioned such action. “Watch what you ask for as you might get it,” he said. “They screwed us and this doesn’t sit well with me.”
Commissioner Gerken said the City of Toledo is struggling with what to do with its municipal code violators as it does not have a signed contract with the Wood County Jail where such inmates are currently housed. He said he wants to cooperate and support Toledo municipal judges by offering such an agreement. He said CCNO needs the agreement to secure financing and stabilize CCNO. “It doesn’t sit well with me,” he said, “but we need to do the right thing.”
Members also amended the current 2016 budget allowing Lucas County to increase its bed allocation from 203 to 303. Commissioner Gerken said the additional 100 beds are necessary for Lucas County to meet its obligation to provide beds to those inmates charged by Toledo Municipal Court under state revised codes.
To help meet budget costs, members agreed to direct bed overage payments into the CCNO general operating fund. In the past, any bed overage payments would go back to the participating jurisdictions to offset per diem rates. Under the new agreement, any bed overage payments received when the member population exceeds 510 will pay for operating costs. Mr. Dennis said CCNO is receiving $425,000 less a month as a result of Toledo’s withdrawal, the reserve funds have been used, while population counts are around 570. He said once CCNO is out of a fiscal crisis mode, the previous practice can continue.
Members agreed to establish a special ad hoc committee to draw up a new operating agreement in lieu of the City of Toledo no longer a partner in the regional jail.
Members referred two items to the CCNO Financial Overview Committee for recommendation at a later time to the board. One issue involves the billing of Toledo municipal code inmates housed at CCNO. The second involves the reserve fund.
Dennis Sullivan, Director of Security and Operations, stated the billing issue is whether the cost of incarceration should be split for some inmates who are sentenced not only under the Ohio Revised Code, requiring Lucas County to pay, but are also serving time under a Toledo municipal code which is the financial responsibility of Toledo. He said right now the municipal code charge is being placed as a holder, requiring Lucas County to pay the entire jail bill. Then the municipal code violator goes to Wood County to serve that sentence. The FOC will review the issue.Fiscal Manager Tonya Justus said the $610,000 in the reserve fund will be used for expenses due to withdrawal of the City of Toledo and its non-payments. The board had agreed to add $250,000 to the reserve fund that included payment from the City of Toledo. The FOC is being asked to determine future payment portions.
The Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio is looking to hire new officers with the likelihood that grant funds will help occupy all beds at the regional jail as was learned during Monday’s meeting of the Corrections Commission of Northwest Ohio.
As a result of the City of Toledo failing to make payments and withdrawing from CCNO, board members in July authorized necessary cutbacks to include staff layoffs. That included the layoff of nine case managers who were reassigned as corrections officers. Five officers were initially laid off with three called back while two pursued college classes. Some staff posts remain vacant while GED and library contract staff was given layoff notices.
CCNO Executive Director Jim Dennis said substance abuse programming offered under contract with Recovery Services continues thanks to a $50,000 donation received from ProMedica of Defiance but additional funding for November and December is needed.
As a result of necessary budget changes, the counties were advised they would not have to provide any additional operating dollars at this time.
Mr. Dennis said staffing is low at this time and CCNO is advertising to hire new officers. He said staff has been working a lot of overtime because inmate numbers have not dropped. He had high praise for CCNO staff that have been working hard, working over time and doing a good job. “They have risen above during this difficult time.”
In his operational report, Mr. Dennis said the inmate population averaged 627 in July, setting a record, and 600 in August. It stood at 548 on Monday.
CCNO Executive Director Jim Dennis was excited to inform the CCNO board during Monday’s meeting of the probability of a grant to fund and fill beds at CCNO. The grant is tentatively scheduled to begin Nov. 1.
CCNO board members authorized Mr. Dennis to enter into grants and agreements to house federal and state inmates. This comes in lieu of the City of Toledo withdrawing from the regional jail, leaving 228 beds unoccupied. Some 100 extra beds were taken by Lucas County and 40 by the State of Ohio for its post release control program, leaving 88 beds.
Officials are pursuing a community corrections act grant that would use the remaining 88 beds to divert low level felons from prison to CCNO. Members learned of the proposal from Bud Hite, Executive Director of the Lucas County Correctional Treatment Facility, and Mr. Dennis who worked jointly on the grant.
Mr. Hite explained that under the proposal, felony four and five inmates diverted to CCNO would still be incarcerated, allowing punishment, but also participate in programming for rehabilitative purposes. “Truly it is an opportunity to send people back to the community better than when they came to jail,” he said.
CCNO Executive Director Jim Dennis said such offenders would be non violent, non sex offenders and not have mandatory prison sentences. He said such a program would be the first of its kind in the State of Ohio.
Board members also approved an agreement with Lucas County to use CCNO staff to administer the ORAS – Ohio Risk Assessment System -- for all Lucas County offenders housed at CCNO. In turn, Lucas County will pay $250,000 a year for two years for the service. CCNO classification officers will conduct the ORAS. The ORAS is a risk based assessment tool used to identify the risk of offenders to recidivate. It would identify low risk inmates and prioritize their release through the administrative release process. Qualifying inmates could then be linked to community agencies to assist in the recidivism lowering effort. Release of the inmate would require approval by the sentencing judge.
Page last updated November 09, 2017