Sheriff to try free phone to reduce wayward released inmates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

The Wood County Sheriff’s Office plans to change its jail release procedures in response to freed inmates walking to neighboring facilities to get rides home.

Last week, a Toledo man released from the Wood County Justice Center walked across East Gypsy Lane Road to Wood Haven Health Care. Douglas Pribbe, 52, was reportedly looking for a phone so he could get transportation home.

Since the nursing home is in city limits, Bowling Green Police Division was called after Pribbe was reportedly causing problems for the nursing home staff and visitors. Pribbe was advised by police to not return to Wood Haven.

“They just release them,” Bowling Green Police Major Justin White said of the jail. “It doesn’t surprise me, if they don’t have a ride, they are probably trying to get someone to pick them up.”

This is not the first time for a released inmate to visit another agency or business near the jail, Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said.

The sheriff has gotten reports of ex-prisoners going to Snook’s Dream Cars, Wright Auto, Mid County 120 EMS, Wood Lane, and other county offices on East Gypsy Lane Road.

“They are no longer under our control,” once they are released from jail, Wasylyshyn said.

Upon release, all inmates are given a three-minute calling card that they can use in the phone in the lobby of the justice center.

“Every single one of them,” gets a card, the sheriff said.

But many of them walk out without making a call, Wasylyshyn said.

“I wish I knew why they aren’t using that calling card – unless they just want to get out of our facility,” he said.

But when Wood Haven reported this latest incident, the sheriff decided to have a phone installed in the lobby of the justice center that can be used at no cost.

“We’re going to try that to see if that minimizes the problem,” he said. “We’re hoping that reduces the number of people” who visit neighboring businesses once released.

That may also decrease the number of released inmates who walk along Dunbridge Road to Meijer, White said. Bowling Green police have been called multiple times to respond to Meijer for freed inmates.

“For everything from loitering around, to asking people for money or for rides,” White said. “We’ve arrested people for shoplifting, then they go to Meijer and shoplift again,” after being released.

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