POMEROY — Mayor Don Anderson and Pomeroy Police Chief Mark Proffitt recently voiced their support for the bond issue and levy for the proposed Meigs County Correctional Facility at the latest Pomeroy Village Council meeting.
Anderson commented at the meeting that he would like the council to endorse the levy as a group and advised the council members to,“talk it up.” He told the council members over the weekend three men were taken into custody after a high-speed chase and there was only room for one of the men, the one who had a felony charge against him, to be held in Nelsonville at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.
Proffitt stated, “The sheriff’s not only under staff over there, but he doesn’t have any slots available and he is doing good to hold who he can and he has to reach out to other counties to hold the people he’s got and Washington County and Ross County, and some of the other places, they’ve got slots that are contracted out that they can’t use because they have to hold those beds open for their own place and the people who have contracts with them guaranteeing them a bed if something happens.”
Proffitt explained that if an individual commits a violent crime or the perpetrator of the crime victimizes another person, every resource will be used to hold that accused individual. However, if an individual commits a non-violent crime and there is nowhere to transport and hold the individual, the individual will be released and be expected to show up for that individual’s designated court date. Proffitt said that if they get a felon, often they have no other choice but to travel to places such as Franklin County or even further to house them.
Proffitt commented the Pomeroy Police Department only has a six-hour holding facility. He explained each facility must uphold certain criteria such as providing food to the housed individual and providing a place for the housed individual to use the bathroom and to take a shower to hold an individual for a sustained time. Proffitt said that after the six hours are up, the individual must be transported to a different facility or be released. He commented that sometimes when these individuals are released, they will go out and re-offend.
Proffitt stated,”One major issue that we also have to look at is sometimes we have to put our loved ones in jail just to keep them safe from themselves…as you all know overdoses happen periodically here and we’ve lost a lot of young people lately due to drug overdoses and we don’t want to see that happen.”
Proffitt added, “If we want to fix their problem, we got to put our thumb down on them.”
Proffitt shared that if a new correctional facility opens, programs will be offered to help people in house. He explained that the judge can order treatment to accused individuals and added that the citizens of Meigs County deserve to have that option.
“If the economics of that jail don’t convince you that Meigs County needs it, surely it will convince you if we are letting felons out on the street, because how many crimes is that guy going to commit between the time we let him go…and if he shows up in court, or there’s a warrant issued for him…and then are you going to find him,” said Anderson.
Proffitt said the levy is a vision for a better community and will help revive the community.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.