$120K+ in taxpayers dollars used to fix jail windows broken by inmates

Sixty windows have been replaced already in 2022 at the Hamilton County Justice Center.
$120K+ in taxpayers dollars used to fix jail windows broken by inmates
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - More than $120,000 in taxpayer dollars has been used to replace windows damaged by inmates at the Hamilton County Justice Center, according to Hamilton County Administration Communications Manager Bridget Doherty.

Sixty windows have been replaced already in 2022, Hamilton County Sheriff Charmine McGuffey says.

While some of the windows have been fixed, there are still 36 more that be replaced, she says.

So how are inmates breaking the windows?

“They were using a battery from that tablet to heat up the plexiglass part of the window,” Sheriff McGuffey explained. “Those are jail industry windows so you got to go through three panes of plexiglass, glass, plexiglass. They were heating it up and they were able to put some hair grease and things on there as accelerants and then burning holes through those windows.”

Some inmates were given access to tablets for mail communications and educational services, the sheriff said.

In addition to burning batteries, Sheriff McGuffey says inmates are burning through windows with “wicks.”

“It’s a long long long - feets long toilet paper, rolled up very very tightly in like a little rope,” the sheriff says when describing a wick. “If you light the end of that, it will stay lit and burn very slowly for days.”

The ultimate goal is to get contraband through the windows, the sheriff says.

Doherty says between $123,000 and $143,000 taxpayer dollars have been used to replace all the damaged windows at the justice center. When she became sheriff, McGuffey says she inherited 49 broken windows that were never attended to in the first place.

A deputy from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office says the inmates who have vandalized the cells, have had their tablet privileges revoked.

Sheriff McGuffey adds that jail staff is now doing frequent shake-downs of the cells and plan to add screens to the windows.

As for the tablets, Sheriff McGuffey thinks they have been resourceful and effective for inmates. The justice center is working to be proactive and put new protocols in place.

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