By DENISE GRANT
Hancock County’s commissioners have signed off on a new prisoner housing agreement with the City of Findlay that increases fees and attempts to reduce overcrowding at the county jail.
Assistant Prosecutor Cindy Land said Thursday the agreement is something “everyone can live with.”
Findlay will pay $84 per day to house its prisoners at the county jail, retroactive to March. The city had been paying $55 per day since 1989.
The new contract also allows for annual fee increases.
The higher fee is based on the actual cost of housing city inmates each day, the commissioners have said.
The $84-per-day charge represents a 53 percent increase for the city, and is expected to cost Findlay an additional $350,000 per year.
The contract also establishes guidelines meant to re-establish the practice of transporting prisoners to other county jails when the Hancock County jail is overcrowded. The city will pay the cost of transporting its prisoners.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office stopped transporting prisoners to other jails in recent years due to money problems. When the jail is full, the sheriff’s office has been turning low-level offenders away when they try to serve jail terms. Over 270 people who reported to the jail to serve sentences last year were refused.
Findlay has agreed to pay for up to 500 out-of-county beds for its inmates each year. If, in any given year, 80 percent of these additional beds are used, the contract calls for officials to resume talks and decide how the additional need can be met.
The contract also calls for the sheriff, city officials and officials from Findlay Municipal Court to “meet regularly and work cooperatively to effectuate incarcerations and avoid unnecessary transportation of prisoners to another facility.”
Routine medical care of prisoners will be covered at the county’s expense, but Findlay will pay for medical or hospital care provided to its prisoners outside the jail.
The county will pay for inmate prescriptions, up to a maximum of $1,200 per prisoner per year. The city would then be responsible for any additional expense.
Under the terms, the county would maintain the right to refuse any city prisoner who has a contagious, infectious or venereal disease. City prisoners with untreated prior medical conditions can also be refused.
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