Clinton County Jail again in full compliance with state standards

By Dana Dunn - For the CCSO

WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office Jail was once again found to be in full compliance following an onsite jail inspection in late 2021 conducted by the Bureau of Adult Detention division of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Ohio jails are reviewed annually by inspectors who evaluate policies, procedures and documentation that show compliance with rigid standards.

“Our certificate of compliance was awarded because we meet the requirements of the standards called for in the Ohio Administrative Code,” Capt. Justin Drake said. Capt. Drake is the jail administrator. Lt. Michael T. Wall is the assistant administrator.

Standards have been chosen to directly support the life, safety, and health of jail inmates, employees and volunteers. Standards promote good correctional practices in training, operations, inmate services, safety and emergency procedures, sanitation, food service, and other areas that address good correctional practice.

The Clinton County Jail is a full-service jail with the housing capacity of 92 inmates. “Since opening the new jail, we have received full compliance recognition from 2001 to 2007 and 2015 to 2021,” Capt. Drake said. The state suspended inspections from 2009-2014.

“There are 178 standards broken down into two categories—53 essential and 125 important,” Capt. Drake explained. “We implement policies and procedures that meet or exceed and do not conflict with the standards.”

Why is this approval important? “It helps Ohio jails with conformity and maintaining a high level of service,” Capt. Drake said. “We develop best practices, policies and procedures which meet and exceed the standards and help reduce legal liability.”

Compliance is achieved by teamwork throughout the departments. “Sheriff (Ralph) Fizer and Chief Deputy (Col. Brian) Prickett advocate to the Clinton County Commissioners for the funds, equipment, and personnel needed to operate the jail,” Capt. Drake said. “The commissioners allocate the needed funds and the jail administrator oversee the daily operations.”

Capt. Drake, Lt. Wahl and jail supervisors make sure policy and procedures are being followed and correction officers carry out the security and supervision of the jail and inmates. “Throughout the year, we review the standards and provide support documentation to make sure they are being met,” Capt. Drake said.

The Clinton County Jail’s positive reputation has led to its staff being called on to mentor other similarly sized county jails.

2021 jail stats

• 1,359 total bookings (1,004 male/355 female); bookings were down from previous years due to steps to mitigate the spread of COVID

• Average daily population: 52.59 inmates

• Average length of stay: 15.2 days

• Average age: 39 years old

• Recidivism rate: 87.79%

By Dana Dunn

For the CCSO