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Lawmakers Propose New Funding Formula For Ohio County Jails

Franklin County jail in downtown Columbus.
Paige Pfleger
The Franklin County Jail in downtown Columbus.

Two Republican state representatives are proposing a new way to pay for Ohio county jails, modeled after the way the state helps school districts pay for building construction.

State Reps. Jay Stephens (R-Kitt Hill) and Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) say their county jail funding formula would award money and match percentages of county jail projects based on factors such as income per capita, property value and sales tax revenue capacity.

Edwards says this legislation could save jails in poorer parts of the state, and could have helped the Meigs County jail, which permanently closed last month.

“Without help from us at the state level, counties will continue to struggle and keep their jails running in a harmless ineffectual manner if they’re able to even operate their own county jail at all,” Edwards says.

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio strongly supports the bill, and sheriffs say it would help save the time and money it takes to send inmates hours away to other facilities.