New Ohio jail rules approved

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — New minimum jail standards were approved Monday by an Ohio state legislative panel that will affect 20,000 inmates at 90 facilities across the state.

The last time Ohio’s jail standards were updated was in 2003. Major Alki Santamas with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department helped rewrite the 180 standards and said many of the changes are because of changes in the law.

Some of the changes that county and municipal jails can put into effect if they choose to will be to serve inmates two meals instead of three on weekends. They also can limit hot showers to every other day.

Santamas said the plan in Mahoning County is to stay status quo and continue serving three meals on the weekends and allow for daily hot showers.

There are also several revisions that improve treatment for inmates who are mentally ill. Jail officials said it’s important to know if an inmate has mental issues so they know how to manage them.

“These people fell through the cracks. Now every prisoner has to be evaluated in the first 14 days. We have to have outpatient or inpatient counseling for them,” said Ernie Cook from the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office.

The new standards are not expected to save any money, but will provide inmates with more safety and limit liability from lawsuits. Officials said the new standards will go into effect in June.

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