HANCOCK COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - In Lucas County, folks are all too familiar with jail overcrowding and the cost of moving those inmates to other area jails. But it's a problem that's occurring in other communities as well.
The Hancock County Justice Center was designed to hold 96 inmates. But recently, the jail has been averaging well over 100, and the cost of commuting and housing the overflow of inmates in nearby Putnam County has doubled what the county expected to pay this year.
For years, Hancock County has sent 1 or 2 inmates to the Putnam jail to offset any high population. But last November, up to 5 inmates were being housed there regularly.
Then in August, the number raised up to an average of 10; and 14 inmates were moved last week.
It costs Hancock County $65 a day for each inmate held in Putnam County, and so far the total bill for the year has reached $95,000.
Officials cite the rise in drug indictments, an increase in petty theft arrests, and probation violations for the rise in incarcerations. It's believed this is a trend, not an isolated incident.
"It's probably going to steadily increase," said Lt. Joseph Hartman, who oversees Hancock County Jail operations. "The community is growing and things change. You know, there's a lot more drug usage in this area. And I think most counties in the state of Ohio are seeing an increase in jail population, so I don't think that we're unique in that at all."