Overcrowding at the Wood County Criminal Justice Center has been a problem for years, but a solution may be in the near future.
When the facility runs out of room to house inmates, the county ships them to surrounding county jails, which costs taxpayers money. If other jails are full, inmates sleep on cots or on the floor. They have never been released because of overcrowding.
"My concern is as we get full, other jails that we house with will also be full, and then we're going to have some serious problems," said Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn.
Ohio House Bill 86 was created to address overcrowding in the state's prisons. When it took effect in September 2011, those convicted of fourth and fifth-degree felonies would not go to prison. Instead, they could be sent to local jails.
"The state prisons are overcrowded, so the state's answer is to push the problem locally and accept fewer people at the state level, which forces the counties to take more people," explained Wasylyshyn.
Wasylyshyn proposed a $5 million expansion back in spring 2012 when the capacity was at 149 beds. He wanted to add an additional 60 beds to an attached building. At the time, Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown said the proposal would need to be studied before continuing with the process.
The Wood County Commissioners voted Tuesday afternoon to expand the jail, which was built in 1989, to allow space for 60 low-security inmates.
Read more on the jail's issue of expansion:
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