Overcrowding At Hamilton Co. Jail Could Help Reopen Queensgate Facility
By Travis Thayer
Photo by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
(Hamilton County, Oh.) – Overcrowding at the Hamilton County Jail could be the catalyst that reopens the long-shuttered Queensgate Jail.
According to Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil, the county jail currently houses about 1,400 inmates, which is over capacity by around 200 inmates.
The Hamilton County Justice Center opened in 1985 and was built to house 840 inmates. The facility was later permitted to increase the inmate number to 1,240 inmates by using double cells and a classification system for inmates.
However, in June of 2017, despite using double cells and implementing an early release programs, the inmate population rose to an all-time high of 1,611.
In order to alleviate the overcrowding, Neil says there have been talks about reopening the Queensgate Correctional Facility that was closed down due to budget cuts in 2008. Reopening the jail would open around 800 beds.
Sheriff Neil added that most of the overcrowding is due to increased criminal activity associated with the opioid epidemic. Based upon historical data, the Sheriff’s Office expects its inmate population to rise in the spring and summer as temperatures rise.
If nothing is done to fix overcrowding, it could mean letting pre-sentence offenders go free.