Hamilton County Justice Center

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The Hamilton County Justice Center is trying something new to reduce illegal drug trade within the jail.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of an inmate at the justice center.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Three townships in northwest Hamilton County could lose sheriff patrols. Hamilton County could go without preventive maintenance for 190 outdoor warning sirens. And the county's 911 emergency center could increase the fees it charges communities for answering calls.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Hamilton County Justice Center has several programs designed to help inmates with different issues. Several veterans are kept together because they can identify with each other's needs. Inmates who are about to be released are housed together as they receive counseling designed to prepare them to re-enter the world at large. The Justice Center also has a section devoted to inmates with addiction issues. That program is going to be expanded.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is dedicating a pod for veterans at the Justice Center in memory of the woman who pushed for it. Sister Kateri Koverman died last October.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

With overcrowding at the Hamilton County Justice Center soon to reach what Sheriff Jim Neil calls a "breaking point," the county considers a pre-jail diversion program for addicts and those suffering from mental illness. As the city and FC Cincinnati wait for Major League Soccer to make its expansion announcement, discussions continue over the location of a new stadium for the soccer team. And a former Cincinnati employee accuses City Manager Harry Black of threatening her job.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County's sheriff has proposed reopening the Queensgate facility to alleviate jail overcrowding. Jim Neill says the Justice Center is currently housing about twice as many prisoners than it was designed for.

Public Defender Ray Faller is instead calling for bail reform for non-violent, non-sexual misdemeanor charges.

Hamilton County's First Jail Newspaper

Aug 23, 2017
Provided

Tracey Brumfield knows how hard it is to access information in jail. She spent time behind bars. Now she's publishing a newspaper. As the People's Liberty 2017 Haile Fellow, Brumfield created RISE, the first-ever newspaper to circulate in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County's sheriff says the jail is dangerously overcrowded. Jim Neil says the jail is only authorized to hold 1,240 prisoners. Last weekend, the population climbed over 1,600.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Department

New Hamilton County Justice Center inmate Lemario Gilbert thought he had an airtight plan to use and deal drugs inside the jail, but swallowing eleven balloons filled with marijuana and Suboxone proved to be a big mistake.

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  Note: This program originally aired August 4, 2016.

According to a survey conducted by Public Citizen and the Treatment Advocacy Center, U.S. state prisons and county jails have as many as 10 times more seriously mentally ill inmates than state psychiatric hospitals. 

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.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County jail inmates can now purchase special playing cards with the names and faces of murder victims. Each card features an unsolved homicide. Hope Dudley is the driving force behind the cards. Her son was murdered in 2007.

"The families and myself are looking for messengers," she says. "We are asking the inmates to please help us in solving the crimes in our cities."

Deputies find heroin in Bible

Jan 16, 2015
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Two people are accused of trying to smuggle heroin into the Hamilton County Justice Center in a Bible. 

Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover says the Bible was sent to the jail in mid December, and like all mail, it was searched.

A Sheriff’s K-9 indicated the presence of narcotics on the Bible; and deputies took a closer look.  On page 419 and 420, in the Book of Daniel, they noticed a light brown stain, about the size of a half dollar.

Schoonover says deputies cut a small piece of the page out and had it tested.  The results of the test were positive for heroin. 

Hamilton County Juvenile Court

The Ohio First District Court of Appeals has turned down suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter's motion to stay out of jail while she appeals her criminal conviction.

Presiding Judge Penelope Cunningham signed the entry denying Hunter's motion Monday morning.

Hunter was convicted in October of a felony count of unlawful interest in a public contract. She was sentenced to six months in jail and six months probation. The jury couldn't reach a verdict on eight other felony charges against her.