Group prepares report on issue of jail overcrowding

YOUNGSTOWN -- The group dealing with the issue of overcrowding in the Mahoning County jail is preparing its first report to a federal special master, said Prosecutor Paul J. Gains.
The group talked about the report Tuesday, Gains said. The report, due Oct. 1, will focus almost exclusively on the county commissioners' recent approval of the hiring of a new assistant prosecutor in each of the five common pleas courts, Gains said.
The idea is that processing cases faster will move inmates out of the county jail faster and keep the population at legal levels.
Gains said the group also heard from the police chiefs in Youngstown and Boardman.
Gains said city Chief Robert Bush talked about the repeat misdemeanor cases coming through municipal court since city judges can't keep the offenders in the county jail. That keeps police busier, too, as offenders commit more crimes, Bush told the group.
Boardman Chief Jeffrey Patterson talked about the rise in crime in the township, Gains said. Patterson noted that shoplifting at township stores is a particularly rising problem, the prosecutor said.
Gains said he can attribute those patterns to misdemeanor offenders who should be in jail but aren't.

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