Prisoner deal with Clermont County

Clermont County has agreed to house twenty male prisoners from Brown County.
Prisoner transfers are already taking place and the deal will save Brown County taxpayers $8508 per month, according to Brown County Sheriff Gordon Ellis.
Overflow prisoners were being held in Butler County at the rate of $70.00 per day.  Clermont County is charging $60.11 per day, which will save $6000 per month.  Ellis said that he anticipates a monthly savings of $1629 in transportation costs and $429 in personnel costs, for a total monthly estimated savings of $8508.
“When I came into the office, one of the things I wanted to look at was whether we could lower the cost of housing prisoners outside the county.  So started working on whether we could do a contract with Clermont County due to the fact that it’s closer and we were hoping to negotiate a reduced price from what we are paying in Butler County,” Ellis said.
The sheriff anticipates that the county will still house 10 or less prisoners per month in Butler County, most of those with long term sentences that don’t require frequent transportation back and forth to Brown County.
Ellis said that the benefits of the new contract with Clermont County go beyond saving $9.89 per prisoner per day.
“You also have a significant reduction in transportation costs.  A round trip to Butler County takes four to four and a half hours and a round trip to Clermont County is about an hour and a half.  So you save gas, you save personnel time on the road and you save wear and tear on the vehicles,” Ellis said.
The sheriff also said that plans to bring females back to Brown County from Butler County were progressing as well.  A privacy fence around one of the cell blocks has been completed to comply with Ohio Department of Corrections regulations.
Ellis said that the capacity of the jail is 64, with a limit of 26 females and 38 males.  At press time, there were 81 prisoners incarcerated in Brown and Butler counties.  Ellis said that any female prisoners over the limit of 26 would have to be housed in Butler County.
The Brown County Criminal Justice Task Force is continuing to meet to look at options and costs for jail expansion.
The group met on March 14 to discuss possible alternatives and plans to meet again on March 28.
Among the options the group is exploring is adding one or two forty person dormitory-style additions for low risk prisoners.
“We have to do something with them,” said Brown County Commission President Daryll Gray.
“We are going broke by spending money to house prisoners out of the county.”
The county budgeted $380,000 for prisoner costs outside the county in 2017.  So far, the bill to Butler County in January has been $58,920 and 59,340 in February.  At that rate, even with the reduced savings of the Clermont County agreement, those funds will be exhausted by August.
“After that’s gone, the money is going to have to come from somewhere,” Gray said.
He added that he and the other commissioners were grateful to Ellis for negotiating the new agreement with Clermont County.