Agreement for city prisoners approved

By Martin Graham -

The Fayette County Commissioners met recently to discuss several business items, including an agreement for the City of Washington Court House to have access to the county jail to house prisoners.

The agreement, which was signed by the commissioners, Washington C.H. City Manager Joe Denen, and approved as well with prosecuting attorney Jess Weade and city law director Mark Pitstick, established prices and stipulations for keeping prisoners at the county jail. Under this agreement the city will pay the county $45 per prisoner per day who are incarcerated as a result of violating a city ordinance.

Prisoners charged under the Ohio Revised Code are not considered city prisoners and those who are arrested as a result of an out of county warrant, a probation violation or bench warrant issued by a court within the boundaries of Fayette County, will also not be charged to the city. The exceptions are violations or warrants issued by the Washington Municipal Court that stem from a city ordinance violation.

“One of the changes that should be noted in this new agreement is a part that concerns overcrowding in the jail,” commissioner Dan Dean said Monday during an interview. “It used to be up to the county to make sure that prisoners are taken to another complex or are released from custody if (overcrowding) becomes a problem. The new agreement actually places that responsibility of city prisoners to the city. In the years I have been here, we have not had any issue with this though, but it is always better to prepare.”

Another part of the agreement establishes a payment system for the city to pay half the total yearly maintenance contract for a “Livescan Machine” that is used at the jail. The city will be billed and will pay monthly toward the machine in addition to the normal city prisoner bill.

According to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the Livescan Machine is an instrumental part of the work they do.

“The Livescan is just really a fancy way to say electronic fingerprint scanner,” FCSO Chief Deputy Andy Bivens said. “When a prisoner is brought to the jail, as part of the booking process, they are photographed and printed. Back in the day, we used to roll out some fingerprint cards and ink to manually take the prints and send them to BCI. The Livescan Machine which we have now is old, so we are looking to get another one.”

Bivens explained that the corrections personnel can utilize this machine to capture the fingerprints of the arrested person and once completed it allows the sheriff’s office to electronically send them to BCI or FBI, so the prints are filed electronically. This process allows the prints to be easily accessed, which can also impact the deputies’ work by allowing them to identify someone that is concealing who they are.

“It is an essential tool in law enforcement today and it is a growing technology,” Bivens said. “As does most modern technology, this is coming to the end of its life and we are ready to take that next step to getting a new machine.”

Other business the commissioners discussed during the Jan. 4 meeting included the appointment of Steve Luebbe as Fayette County Sanitary Engineer, a renewal of an internet based auction system, a contract for mowing services, additional contracts for child placement and related services, and a resolution authorizing county credit card use for Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth.

By Martin Graham

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy