Does Lake County Need a $100 Million Justice Center?

Lake County Jail Statistics

Written by: Dave Lima, Mentor resident
May 6, 2021

Note: The information contained in this article reflects the examination of the jail roster on one day, April 30, 2021. The author acknowledges that data from one day does not satisfy the requirements of good research. Consequently, more study is needed in order to determine trends that would more accurately reflect jail population.

Following last week’s Commissioners’ meeting, I contacted Sheriff Leonbruno and asked for the following information:

(1) How many inmates are currently awaiting trial/sentencing?
(2) How many are incarcerated because of their inability to post bail?
(3) How many individuals are housed in the jail for a probation violation?

The Sheriff provided me with the 2019 Annual Report and a report of the jail roster as of April 3, 2019. Since the data provided by the Sheriff did not answer the three questions – those awaiting trial, those unable to make bail and inmates who where there for violation of probation, I decided to review the jail roster to get a more current and accurate picture.

My review found that as of April 30 of this year, 329 inmates were housed in the Lake County jail compared to 396 on April 3, 2019. The current population is below the 350 bed capacity of the jail. These numbers do not reflect significant overcrowding, the primary driver of new jail construction.

My further review of the jail roster on April 30 of this year enabled me to answer two of my questions: 168 inmates were awaiting trial or sentencing and 91 were incarcerated for violation of probation. I was further able to determine that of the 329, 234 were incarcerated for non-violent crimes (probation violation, bond revocation, drugs, failure to appear, and other non-violent crimes like DUI)

The need for more recent data is called for in order to determine the degree of overcrowding, if any, and the population trend. Is it decreasing, increasing, or remaining the same?

If the more recent trends indicate a level of decreasing population, renovation of the existing facility should be considered. Renovation of the existing facility would surely be less costly to the taxpayer than the projected $100 million dollar cost of new construction.

My estimate, based on a $100 million dollar facility, would cost every Lake County adult and child $434. Renovation or new construction would place a significant burden on the Lake County taxpayer.

Would it not be appropriate to put this question on the ballot, and ask them what they want to do?

Dave Lima
7774 Litchfield Dr.
Mentor
May 6, 2021

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LFC Comments: Thanks to Mr. Lima for taking the time to research this topic. To Sheriff Leonbruno, we ask that you help us with the current statistics so that we can help you get the correct, appropriate information to the citizens of Lake County.

What Lake County officials must understand, is that the days of just accepting what officials say is needed is OVER. Citizens from both sides of the aisle are becoming engaged and demanding answers to our questions.

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Categories: Free Speech Zone, Uncategorized

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