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New Ohio jail rules aim to improve safety

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- New rules for Ohio's county jails cover a variety of topics, including revised mental standards and emails.

The new standards that took effect Sunday allow jails to serve inmates two meals instead of three on weekends. They also can limit hot showers to every other day. Jail staff will be able to review prisoners' emails for security reasons and monitor and record inmate visits.

Several mental health agencies supported revisions they said would improve treatment for mentally ill inmates. Those include new regulations on screening, health appraisals, medications and suicide prevention.

The changes will affect about 20,000 inmates housed in 90 full-service jails. The jails are mainly county jails and a few municipal ones.

Backers say the new rules will improve safety and help limit liability from lawsuits.

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