Sheriff: “State Of Emergency” At Overcrowded Jail
By Mike Perleberg
(Cincinnati, Oh.) – The sheriff and a county commissioner are at odds over how to address overcrowding at the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Sheriff Jim Neil declared a “state of emergency” Wednesday because of jail overcrowding.
Neil says the county jail was originally built to house 842 inmates and was later renovated to handle 1,240. This past weekend, however, the building was attempting to house 1,611 inmates.
Neil called the situation completely unacceptable. He transferred 25 inmates to the Butler County Jail this week.
“I cannot and I will not jeopardize the safety of my Deputies and subject them to ongoing dangerous environments in our jail! Nor will I put the inmates, the medical staff and others in harm’s way. The safety of everyone is my top priority,” Neil said in a statement.
Later that night, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune – a fellow Democrat – told WCPO-TV that the sheriff’s statement was “hype and hysteria.” Portune acknowledged the problem, but said he and others were already meeting to find solutions to the issue.
Neil said he and his staff will continue to work with all elected officials and agencies involved in the criminal justice process to find solutions to the jail overcrowding.