jail

hamilton county justice center
Ann Thompson / WVXU

The bail system is meant to ensure an individual appears in court after he or she is charged with a crime and to promote public safety. But some research shows requiring cash bail keeps many individuals locked up simply because they can't afford to pay, and that it does not make society safer.

jail
Pixabay

Teenagers accused and convicted of serious crimes face harsh sentences when tried as adults.

jail
Pixabay

According to the National Stepping Up Initiative, in the U.S. approximately 2 million times each year, people who have serious mental illnesses are admitted to jails. These individuals often don't receive appropriate, or any, treatment, and, upon release, are at a higher risk of re-incarceration than those without mental illnesses.

The National Alliance for Mental Illness says about two million people with mental illnesses are booked into jails every year.

But most counties aren’t properly equipped to treat those people while they’re in custody. The problem is especially big in Indiana, where many jails are housing far more inmates than they are supposed to. 

Latosha Poston says she made a lot of mistakes in her life. Her legal troubles began in her teens after her first child was born in Indianapolis. Over the years, bad decisions led to some arrests, some convictions.

"Sometimes we get stuck in our past and let our past guide us," she says.

The 44-year-old has worked hard to straighten out her life. But her criminal records — all involving misdemeanors — continued to haunt her as she tried to find a decent job and place to live.

Alisha Floyd bounces her son Chance on her lap. He giggles and pulls her hair.

“He’s the fattest baby here,” she says, laughing.

Ohio Issue 1: The Pros And Cons

Oct 17, 2018
herion syringe
Wikimedia Commons

On election day, Ohio voters will decide State Issue 1, which, if passed, would change drug possession felonies to misdemeanors, steering non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment.

As groupsassociations, and individual polticians around Ohio line up against a statewide ballot issue to cut jail time for some drug offenders, one group remains steadfast in their support.

Gov. John Kasich says he’ll do what many of his fellow Republicans say they’ll do this fall when it comes to the statewide ballot issue that would change criminal sentencing to prefer treatment over prison time. 

The chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court says there’s a growing movement across the nation to reform the pre-trial justice system. 

John Minton, Jr. says the current method of setting bail disproportionately affects low-income defendants who aren’t able to pay for release after being charged with low-level, non-violent offenses.

“We don’t need to lose sight of the number one, bedrock principle and that is the presumption of innocence operates in every case, so that presumption does not need to be lost," Minton told WKU Public Radio.

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.

Flickr

It’s a chilly March afternoon in Marysville, Ohio, and I’m riding around on a golf cart with Clara Golding Kent, the public information officer for the Ohio Reformatory for Women. It’s right after "count," when officials make sure the women serving time at Ohio's oldest prison are where they're supposed to be.

HomeWAV

Visiting an inmate at the Warren County Jail is now as easy as logging onto your computer.

The Sheriff's Department has contracted with the HomeWAV system to begin online inmate video visitation. "Video visitation is the wave of the future for correctional facilities," Sheriff Larry Sims said, "and Warren County is proud to offer it."

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

On his first appearance before the Cincinnati Rotary, Sheriff Jim Neil reiterated the county does not need a new jail.

"Judges will sentence to capacity whether you have 3,000 jail cells or 1,000," he says.

Neil handed out awards Thursday to several deputies and took questions ranging from the budget to drugs and the county jail.

Neil has been expanding electronic monitoring and would like to add even more of the devices. He says what the county does lack is enough space for female and special needs inmates.

Another problem? Heroin.