Ohio Confinement Facility Deals With Overcrowding Headaches

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 12, 2013 Updated Sep 12, 2013 at 6:08 PM EDT

STRYKER, Ohio (21 Alive) --- Playing the game of "prisoner shuffle".

Overcrowding issues have nagged a regional jail in Stryker Ohio at times in 2013.

On five occasions this year, overcrowding emergencies have been declared at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio.

The facility in Stryker houses inmates from six government jurisdictions in Ohio, including Defiance and Williams Counties.

Each county has a set allotment of beds for inmates.

Between August 24th and 26th, the inmate population topped 95 percent of the established capacity, triggering the most recent emergency order.

Because Defiance County was completely over its limit, no more inmates could come in, unless a judge let somebody else out.

The last time the facility had significant overcrowding problems was in 2007.

Officials believe the intervening years were slower, because the economy was also down.

" A lot of times you have less law enforcement out on the street arresting, because each jurisdiction is trying to save money, so they can get their budget (in line). They've got certain things they have to put in priority," said Dennis Sullivan, the corrections center’s Director of Security and Operations.

When the jail doors are closed to an entity like Defiance County, it does not mean that there's no room for someone charged with a violent crime such as murder.

Instead, a judge in Defiance County would have to order the transfer of an inmate writing bad checks to home detention, for instance, to clear space for the accused murderer.

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