After thirty years, the North Royalton Jail will be closing. Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz recently released a press release, saying that it will close within sixty days.
The North Royalton Jail is part of the North Royalton Police Department, located at the corner of Bennett and Royalton Roads. North Royalton built the facility in the early 1990’s. Originally, the Police Department was housed at the old City Hall.
The Jail houses up to 18 full-time male and female prisoners and serves about nineteen communities who do not have access to their own jail. According to Antoskiewicz, it employed seven full-time employees and twelve part-time employees. They will be laid off, he said.
In the process of studying each city department since he took office in the effort to find savings, Antoskiewicz said that it had been determined that an increase in jail revenue through an increased prisoner population never took place. “Over the last few years, the hope was that as other cities closed their jails, we would be more of a regional jail. That just never materialized,” he said. In 2020, so far, the average rate daily population was 8.44 prisoners. Currently, the jail requires a subsidy in excess of $600,000 annually. Several years ago, the city did increase the charge of the jail from $90 to $100 per day, in order to be more in keeping with surrounding jails. The city also has been in contact with Cuyahoga County in an effort to support the jail, but they were not interested.
“The taxpayers of North Royalton cannot be expected to bear the costs of housing prisoners from nineteen other communities at so great a loss as is now the case,” said Antoskiewicz. “Even if we were to double our revenue from those communities served by our jail, the costs of operation would still be too high to sustain.”
Antoskiewicz said that the jail is scheduled to close on June 30. In the interim, the city will be meeting with union officials to finalize details relative to the affected employees. He said that City Council will have to approve a closure agreement to complete the process. When that takes place, he said he will look to negotiate with other jails to house North Royalton prisoners. The closest jails in proximity to North Royalton are Parma and Solon.
Antoskiewicz also said that city administration is in the process of re-doing their bond schedules, which determine the amount of bail a defendant is required to pay, based on the offense. The move has been that “we have to bond more people out. Seems to be the trend in the state and county,” he said. By lowering the bond for certain non-violent offenses, the need to jail defendants is reduced. Antoskiewicz notes that the changes involved in the jail’s closing are a balance between fiscal responsibility and safety. “I live here too and I’m not going to endanger the safety of the citizens of North Royalton.” It is not known at this time what will be done with the vacant portion of the Police Facility building.

Contributing Writer