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Ohio sheriff declares 'state of emergency' due to jail overcrowding

Ohio sheriff declares 'state of emergency' due to jail overcrowding
Posted at 12:25 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 14:25:38-04

The Hamilton County, Ohio sheriff has declared a "state of emergency" at the jail due to overcrowding.

The Hamilton County Justice Center in Cincinnati is outside acceptable practices and operating "far below" state Jail Minimum Standards, Sheriff Jim Neil wrote in a letter to Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune Wednesday.

Neil has also been reaching out to neighboring counties to determine their ability to house inmates in an effort to alleviate overcrowding.

"I'll remind you this is not an easy decision, but it is the right thing to do and my only option," Neil wrote. "State law does not allow me to alter inmate sentences."

Neil has been warning other county agencies about "the disturbing and upward trend of our inmate population count at the jail," he wrote. This past week, the jail "reached a boiling point" due to overcrowding.

"I cannot and will not jeopardize the safety of my deputies and subject them to an ongoing, volatile, dangerous environment in our jail," Neil wrote. "Nor will I put the inmates, medical staff and others in harm's way."