Hamilton County Jail Passes State Inspection

Jul 14, 2016

Hamilton County's Justice Center holds approximately 1,300 inmates at any given time.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

A state inspection has found Hamilton County's jail complies with all essential standards and most of the important standards. Sheriff Jim Neil says that's a big change from 2013 when the jail was called the worst in Ohio.

Major Charmaine McGuffey says the facility had its annual inspection in February.

"When they come in and evaluate your jail standards, they're evaluating your jail medical staffing. They're evaluating your food service. They evaluate the cleanliness of your jail. They evaluate how much training your officers achieve in the jail, how your officers act, what your use of force capabilities are, how many use of forces you have, why you have those."

Sheriff Neil says the facility met the standards despite being understaffed, and with a longer list of requirements.

McGuffey says the jail inspector called the Hamilton County facility the worst in Ohio three years ago.

"What changed in the last three years here is how we document inmate movement, the services that we provide. What is also changed in this jail is our engagement with the community. That has been huge."

She says it was no small feat. "We worked relentlessly, countless hours, months, days on turning that around, and making this the best jail in the state of Ohio. We met 115 jail standards."

Sheriff Jim Neil and Major Charmaine McGuffey say the jail has gone from worst in the state to best in three years.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

McGuffey says jail staff is working with organizations to keep people from returning to jail once they're released.

The Sheriff's Office says a 2013 jail inspection found Hamilton County failed on 48 of the then 69 standards. In the latest report, the state says two areas still need improvement: the amount of space for inmates during the day, and the number of inmate showers.