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Number of inmates drops at Ontario County Jail

A few years ago the Ontario County Jail faced overcrowding.

The 276-bed jail, nearly at its breaking point, saw annual overtime costs trending $700,000 over budget and the estimated cost of adding a new section on the facility came in at $8 million.

Jail overcrowding happens when you get above 80 percent capacity, according to county Planning Department Director Tom Harvey. That’s about 220 inmates, a number that officials hope may be a thing of the past — for good.

Last month, Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero reported to the county Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee there were 158 inmates at the jail. Two units remain closed. The month before: 177 inmates with two units closed, following a recent trend.

“Arrests are not down,” Povero said this week. The number of people coming into the jail for processing after arrests is actually up, he said. But because of a number of programs that offer alternatives to incarceration, the number of people committed to jail is down overall.

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