- Find ways to get homeless people in shelters and transitional housing, as opposed to jail
- Identify veterans that can be appropriately diverted and receive treatment, paid for by benefits they earned through their service.
- Get citizens with mental illnesses and substance abuse the treatment they need, and out of the revolving door of the jail.
- Improve and reform processes so we move cases more quickly, and house fewer felons waiting for trial.
- Use more electronic monitoring units, and more fully utilize the River City (state-funded) facility.
- Use pretrial services to do "reentry planning" to reduce recidivism.
- Use federal gun laws (Project Disarm) to get the worst offenders into the federal system.
But even with all these solutions being pursued, there remains a jailspace crunch. Specifically, with a great percentage of jail beds being taken up by accused felons waiting for trial (who, if convicted, will go to the state penitentiary), there are very few spaces left for convicted criminals (misdemeanants) to serve any sentence at all. (Note: Misdemeanor sentences are served at the county jails, while felony sentences are serves at state penitentiaries). And nothing more frustrates judges, police officers or citizens than convicted criminals walking away from sentences because there's no room at the inn.
Which is why, after discussions with Campbell County officials, I offered a plan to the City that was reported in the Enquirer today. Campbell County is willing to house convicted misdemeanants at a far lower rate (under $44 per bed ber day) than is available in Ohio. They are willing to pay to transport these offenders to and from our court. And unlike past agreements, there is no "guaranteed minimum" of beds that must be paid for. So the City would only pay for the beds it uses.
But the point is, through the Campbell County option, the City (or any municipality) could guarantee itself a number of beds for convicted misdemeanants (arrested through their police agency) to actually serve their time.
My role has been simply to facilitate another option. It will up to each jurisdiction to determine if it's worth taking advantage of.