The Corrections Facility Future Use Team (CFFUT), consisting of representatives from 18 organizations, selected by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) to oversee the repurposing for the recently closed Hocking Correctional facility in Nelsonville, met Monday to discuss progress of their efforts.
Current plans include DRC leasing the facility to the Hocking County Commissioners for $1 per year who will then delegate oversight of a secure jail area to the Hocking County Sheriff, and a treatment area to the Hocking County Community Corrections Board. DRC will retain ownership of the facility and has committed to paying for roughly $7 million in capital expenses over the next 10 years. The facility will offer services from secure incarceration to treatment, housing, education and job training to drug dependent individuals from Hocking County and the surrounding areas. The arrangement depends on final action from the commissioners but Commission President Jeff Dickerson said he believes “the commissioners are very supportive of the proposal.”
Judge Fred Moses, Hocking County Municipal Court judge and chairman of the Community Corrections Board, said, “The remarkable thing about this effort is the collaboration that is occurring between 18 different organizations from throughout the region. No one is aware of a similar project anywhere in the country where we can provide all the services in one place to return people who are drug dependent to our community and a better quality of life. DRC has been a great partner and they are committed to making this project a success for our community.”
Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North said his department “is ready to accept the challenge because the facility will provide much needed jail space, particularly for females, and offer a path to recovery for people who are dependent upon drugs.”
Representatives from area recovery agencies are developing options for locally providing services at the facility. Next steps include discussing these options with DRC and area lawmakers. CFFUT plans on hosting a community forum when more details are clear to answer questions and solicit input.
Representatives from Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions and Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs are providing resources for facilitating the process and supporting the efforts of local communities to make this unique project a reality.