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For some, getting into jail isn’t easy



Published: Wed, July 4, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

Space can be a problem in the county jail, the chief deputy explains.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD — Most inmates in the Trumbull County Jail want to get out. Dave Beaver said he’s been trying to get in for the past seven months without success.

Now he may just get his day(s) in jail.

Beaver, of Washington Avenue, explained he moved to the Girard area from Marietta several years ago and got involved in some less-than-savory activities, culminating in an arrest late last year for drug paraphernalia.

Beaver said he was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 80 days being suspended. He said he attempted to report to the county jail on four occasions to serve the 10-day jail sentence, but was told each time to return at a later date.

Beaver said he was without a car for a period and the trips to the jail were often difficult.

Instead of going to the jail as instructed in May, Beaver said, he called to inform jail personnel that he had a dental appointment. He said jail personnel told him he would have been instructed to return anyway.

Violation of probation

The Girard Municipal Court, however, found him to be in violation of his probation for not showing up at the jail. Beaver is due back in court later this month to answer to the violation.

Employees in the court’s probation department would not comment on the case, citing confidentiality of probation cases. Judge Michael Bernard could not be reached to comment.

According to the county jail’s Chief Deputy Ernie Cook, Beaver’s situation is not all that uncommon.

Cook said judges typically issue one of two orders to the jail — an order stating that an individual must be taken into the jail immediately, or an order allowing the individual to serve ordered jail time when there is room in the jail.

In the case of the latter, the person is told to report to the jail every 30 days to see if there is room.

“Any time our population is over 300, we have a practice of working with the courts on the short-term commitments and schedule them when we have the room,” he said. “We have been averaging about 340 in population.”

Added punishment

Cook said Beaver did report to the jail as instructed in January and again in February and March, but failed to report to the jail in May and the court was informed. He said calling, as Beaver claimed to have done, is not sufficient.

According to Cook, the jail, following Beaver’s failure to show up in May, received an order from the court to accept him and he will be taken in to serve whatever jail time is prescribed by the court.

Beaver said the whole situation seems like added punishment.

Beaver admits he made a mistake getting into trouble with the law in the first place, but said he has since made great strides in turning his life around and staying clear of trouble. He feels he should not be further punished, because he tried to serve his 10-day sentence before his dental procedure came up.

jgoodwin@vindy.com


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