According to public officials, there are more than 200 offenders waiting to serve time at the Zanesville City Jail.
Police departments across the country are facing major budget cuts due to the struggling economy and Zanesville is no exception.
"It’s really getting to the serious point that we can’t afford to operate in a very efficient or to me, an acceptable level," said Chief Eric Lambes.
Last year, he had to shut down the second floor of the city jail to save money. He said he just couldn’t afford to keep jailers on staff and also pay for inmates food and medical expenses.
"It’s aggravating, it’s not only aggravating to me, but to the officers too because there’s so much that we could be doing, but we understand that we have to live within a budget," he said.
When running at full capacity the jail can house around 55 inmates, but with the second floor being shut down, it loses 16 beds.
And that means, they don’t have enough space to adequately house prisoners; there is currently a list of 200 offenders waiting to serve time.
"Nobody wants to see that, if there’s a criminal in Zanesville that needs to go to jail, he should go to jail quickly," said the chief.
To compensate for the lack of space, he said they’ve had to release some prisoners early to serve at a later time, in order to make room for the more serious convicts. House arrests are also being enforced.
"I’ve had situations where people, I’m sentencing them for a new charge and they haven’t served their old one yet maybe from six months or a year ago," said Zanesville Municipal Court Judge William Joseph.
"It bothers me but we’re doing something about it and I would tell the community that rest assured, every day and every minute of everyday we’re working on the situation and we’re going to be alright," said Mayor Butch Zwelling.
The fate of the police department will be decided on December 27th when city council meets to vote on the proposed budget for 2011.