Delaware County officials have signed off on an agreement to house overflow prisoners from Licking County in the Delaware County jail.
Delaware County commissioners Aug. 17 voted unanimously to accept up to 10 minimum-security prisoners from the neighboring county. Delaware County will be reimbursed $65 per prisoner per day by Licking County, according to the terms of the agreement.
Maj. Jeff Balzer of the Delaware County Sheriff's Office said Licking County officials reached out after "several months" of crowded conditions. The agreement is subject to the availability of space at the Delaware County jail.
"We don't have a mandatory number that we have to accept, and it's something that (Sheriff Russell Martin) is willing to do," Balzer said.
Licking County must pay for the prisoners' dental, medical and transportation costs, according to the agreement. The deal also holds Licking County liable for costs related to the potential death of any inmate it sends to the Delaware County jail.
Delaware County also can seek reimbursement for any damage to the county jail or other property caused by a transferred prisoner.
The agreement states Delaware County will be liable if neglect of duty leads to a transferred prisoner's death, escape or injury.
"In reading through the agreement ... it looks like we have our liabilities pretty well covered," Commissioner Jeff Benton said.
Balzer said the sheriff's office will vet the prisoners before they are transferred to the Delaware County jail.
"There are certain (inmates) we ask them not to give us -- inmates with medical problems and different issues," he said. "If there are any other issues that come up, (Licking County is) responsible for transporting them to medical or different appointments."
The agreement remains in effect until July 2018 unless both counties agree on an extension.
"I think it's great that we work together with Licking (County) and help them in their crunch," Benton said. "I know we've done it in the past, and it's worked well."