Seeing the Light?

By  | 

The issue is safety-related; an inspector determined during a routine check on the new structure that a failure in emergency lighting systems might result in some of those lights not coming on when they're needed.

"They feel the lighting would not be sufficient if a circuit blew in a room, you would not have sufficient lighting to exit the room," says jail administrator, Jack Brum.

But Washington County officials maintain that in such a situation the system allows for at least some of the lights to come on.

"It is divided into separate circuit panels for the same areas," says Rick Smith of the county's maintenance department. "So, the failure of one panel will not eliminate all the lights in that area. So if you have a loss of power to that from a normal power source, that emergency system will come on."

The county commissioners plan to contest the inspector's opinion before a state board in Canton, Ohio on July 8. If that appeal is not successful, it could cost up to $20,000 to fix the problem, but a bigger issue right now is the desire of the Sheriff's Department to move to the more spacious new jail.

"We're still at maximum capacity in the old jail," Brum says, "and we'd like to get into the new jail because capacity is twice the size in that one."

Brum also says its hoped the county can generate revenue for the new jail by renting unused space to house prisoners from other counties.