Returning Citizens

The defunct (and “historic”) Licking County Jail, located on South Third Street in Newark, is of limited value to the people of Licking County. As a monument to discipline and punish it detracts and diminishes the highly promoted tourist attraction of Canal Market (“Look mommy. That building looks scary. Is it Dracula’s castle?” “No dear. It is the old jail where the police put bad people to languish and rot.”). Other than a party house for over age and nostalgic Goth’s, it is of no benefit to, and serves little purpose for, the people of Licking County. Cuyahoga County opted for something a little more practical and relevant to its current citizens. Cory Shaffer for cleveland.com (4-5-18) headlines: Former Bedford Heights Jail re-opens as comprehensive reentry facility. “Cuyahoga County leased the facility after Bedford Heights closed its jail in 2015. It spent $500,000 renovating the facility as officials hashed out details and logistics over the last two years, [Director of Corrections Ken] Mills said. The Bedford Heights center will house up to 200 male inmates sentenced to 60 to 90 days in jail for nonviolent, nonsexual, low-level felony and misdemeanor charges, Mills said. For the last three years, Cuyahoga County offered similar services to approximately 80 inmates in the Euclid Jail. That facility will continue to offer those services to female inmates.” “Towards Employment [“a nonprofit organization that provides job counseling and training services”] will teach job training, resume building and computer skills in the jail’s computer lab, and give them emotional counseling and conflict resolution training, [executive director Jill] Rizika said. The Cuyahoga County Library System will teach GED courses, and Mills said plans are in the works for Cuyahoga Community College to teach manufacturing skills. The facility will also allow the county to expand its culinary arts program, a nine-week course that gives inmates a certification to be a cook. The jail partners with Edwins Restaurant and different hospitality management groups in the area.” Practically speaking, Licking County has the same resources (CTEC, College, non-profits engaged in counseling and job training, etc.). Practically speaking, Licking County Commissioner Tim Bub would never express what his counterpart in Cuyahoga County had to say: “”We would expect somehow [former inmates] would rejoin the community and be productive members of society almost magically, and it just doesn’t happen that way,” Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said.”

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