I am endorsing the need for the new community corrections facility as the most imminent cost effective way to keep our Community safe and to maintain law and order within our County.
The County has no space to put violent criminals when apprehended by law enforcement. My office has prosecuted over 1,000 felony, misdemeanor and juvenile criminal cases with a 99.61% conviction rate as of September 30, 2021. We have over 7,000 outstanding criminal warrants where law enforcement cannot arrest perpetrators who are picked up for new crimes and we must leave them go to commit another crime for lack of space and facilities. Unless and until we have a functioning facility to house and manage violent and non-violent offenders hard working citizens will be repeatedly victimized time and time again.
The cost of this “rinse and repeat” cycle to victims, families and taxpayers is staggering. It’s a revolving door. This County lacks adequate facilities to break that cycle. The old ways of fighting crime fall short to the new 21st century challenges presented by drug addiction and mental illness. The opioid epidemic is the number one reason for this crisis. We are helpless to the challenges of mental illness and drug addiction given our present capability. This County has insufficient facilities to house rapists, drug traffickers, and pedophiles.
My Office along with all of law enforcement are working hard and doing our best, but it’s not enough!! Unless and until this County has an adequate functioning, working facility, it’s like throwing money down the drain, and the crimes and recidivism keep on coming. We can’t keep up nor can be make a difference! Albert Einstein said ... “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” The community corrections facility is a one-stop justice solution that can be purchased for an average cost per citizen of a weekly cup of coffee at the McDonald’s. Come on Ashtabula, step forward and help us keep you, your family and our citizens safe. The need is real. Let’s work together to do better for the safety of all of us. Think about it!
Colleen M. O’Toole
Ashtabula County Prosecutor