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Just four months after taking office, Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene has re-opened the county jail, which is something his predecessor had been unable to do.
Faced with budget cuts, the termination of a number of contracts to house inmates and a federal court order that set specific manpower standards, then-Sheriff Randall Wellington closed half of the jail nearly three years ago. But as of Monday morning, the last of those five inmate housing units, known as pods, that were closed in 2010 were re-opened once again, adding 57 beds to the facility.
Greene campaigned on a pledge to make the jail fully operational and said by looking for new revenue sources and moving employees around within the department, he was able to come up with the money needed to staff the jail.
Greene has initiated new revenue streams, including a $40 reception fee, a $25 sex offender registration fee and foreclosure/sheriff sales fees that are expected to generate an extra $400,000 for the department. Plans also are in the works for a possible pay-to-stay program as well as housing federal inmates at the county jail.
“I guess it’s fair to say we’re being a little bit aggressive trying to get these monies rolling in to get the jail opened back up,” Greene said.
Greene said he’s using examples that have worked in other counties.
Seven new deputies have been hired to help man the facility. The jail currently houses 500 inmates and
It was welcome news for Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley because the department already is making plans to deal with violent crime this spring and summer and officers now will have somewhere to put the offenders.
“There will be a little bit more hammer for us out there to use to keep things quiet,” Foley said. “Last year was problematic because it was a revolving door. We put ’em in jail, they were summonsed out immediately, within two or three hours, they were right back at home doing whatever they got themselves into before. “