By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Sheriff Thomas Altiere is asking the Trumbull County Corrections Board to look into the possibility of a multicounty jail facility.
Altiere wrote a letter to the board Tuesday stating that he feels the acquisition of the closed private prison on Hubbard Road in Youngstown might be the answer to overcrowding at Trumbull County and Mahoning County jails.
"As you are well aware that the current 'new jails' in Mahoning and Trumbull counties are currently over capacity," Altiere wrote. "This trend will continue given the lack of sentencing alternatives available to the courts."
The sheriff said he believes the possible solution to jail overcrowding is for both counties to take part in acquiring the closed facility.
"To help defer costs, a contract to house inmates for the Federal Marshal's Service should be implemented," the sheriff wrote.
"I believe active partnerships with the various stakeholders will produce a win-win for the community at large by creating jobs, paying taxes and addressing our inmate incarceration issues."
Altiere said he hopes to discuss the project at the board's meeting later this week.
About the facility
The 2,106-bed Northeast Ohio Correctional Center has been empty since July 12, 2001, when the federal government transferred the last of its 1,700 inmates from the private facility, built in the 1990s by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America.
Vince Peterson, a county probation officer and board chairman, said he believes the sheriff has a good idea.
"I think it is something that we need to sit down and discuss this as soon as possible," Peterson said. "We have to try and determine if it is a viable idea."
Altiere said he did not know how much Trumbull would have to pay. He added that he has not had any formal discussions with Trumbull or Mahoning County commissioners.
Commissioners from both counties could not be reached to comment.
"This is just in the beginning stages," Altiere said. "This is why I want the board's help on the matter."