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Lorain County Justice Center 225 Court St.

, 7th Floor Elyria, Ohio 44035

Phone (440) 329-5565 Fax (440) 329-5562

Lorain County Court of Common Pleas
Edward M. Zaleski, Judge

April 26, 2011

James Cordes 224 Middle Ave. Elyria, OH 44035 Re: Office Space for New PSI Employees

Dear Jim: As you have likely heard the State of Ohio is eliminating a number of positions within the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Up till now, in Lorain County, the State has been responsible for producing Presentence Investigation Reports (PSIs) using State employees. Beginning in July of this year the State will no longer provide this service. The obvious question is what does this mean for Lorain County. Ohio law requires the production of PSIs whenever a judge is sentencing a defendant to a community control sanction (i.e. not jail or prison). Unfortunately, Ohio law does not direct who is to pay for the creation of PSIs. Last year the State prepared approximately 1,700 PSIs, which thereby allowed Lorain County Judges to avoid sentencing these individuals to incarceration. As you can imagine, the resulting costs savings to the jail are extraordinary. Quite candidly the Court was extremely worried that the State was simply going to push the total cost of PSIs down to local government. After lengthy and, at times, contentious discussion with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections we were fortunate to secure grant funding for six new employees who will be responsible for producing PSI reports. While we are pleased that Lorain County will benefit from the six new jobs, there are a number of obstacles which still must be addressed. Foremost among these obstacles is securing space for these individuals to perform their job. Physical proximity to the Justice Center is perhaps the most important criteria in determining where to locate these new employees. In order to perform their job the PSI writers must interview defendants. Past experience has shown that we tend to lose defendants (in which case no PSI is done and then they are sentenced to incarceration) if they have to travel too far. The Court would propose locating the PSI writers in the old Courthouse. Because of space limitations this would necessitate moving some of the probation officers. The best candidates to move out of the old Courthouse would be the Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) officers. With support staff this would be approximately 14 personnel. After looking at existing County

facilities we believe the old Columbia Gas building on 3rd Street would best accommodate these officers. One final note, the State has not given us much time to assume these duties. In fact, we just discovered yesterday (April 25, 2011) that we will begin the transition on June 1. Accordingly, we need to move quickly to get these new employees situated. Please advise as to how we need to proceed.


Edward M. Zaleski Administrative Judge