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December 23, 2013 at 7:31 am

Messenger: Jail Funding Analyzed by Economics Students

“The Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail has been using an ‘unfair’ payment process, according to an analysis done by Ohio University students,” Susan Tebben of the Athens Messenger wrote on Dec. 22.

At a recent meeting of the Corrections Commission for Southeastern Ohio, a new plan was presented to the jail that would, Ohio University economics students said, make the revenue stream work more fairly for all member counties.

Dr. Richard Vedder, economics professor at OU, was approached by Athens County Commissioner and Corrections Commission member Charlie Adkins to do a study about the jail and the costs given to every county. One of his goals was to show that Athens County was paying “more than its fair share” for beds within the jail.

According to the current jail system, each county pays for a certain amount of beds per month. Whether the beds are used or not, the beds are paid for at the same rate.

“(The jail) revenue system is kind of archaic,” said undergraduate economics major Daniel Garrett, who worked on the study. “And that kind of a system doesn’t always work so well.”

In the study, Garrett and fellow students Chris Denhart, Jack Byrne and Joseph Hartge found that though contracting a certain amount of beds per county did make for a more stable revenue for the jail, it wasn’t the best solution.

“The contracts do increase revenue stability, but the unfair prices that result from the contracts are not optimal and may eventually have negative effects on the jail,” the study concluded.

Read the full article.

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