FOX19 Investigates: Justice system's revolving door in Hamilton Co.

Published: Jun. 29, 2013 at 12:52 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is continuing their efforts to try and stop the revolving door at the jail while working within the constraints of a limited housing facility.

"You can come in here and find out, see for yourself that we're absolutely working with minimum officers and maximum inmates," Major Charmaine McGuffey told FOX19. "We have limited physical monitors, we have limited physical space. So I can say we're doing the absolute best we can."

Now that the sheriff's office is booking every inmate instead of releasing them, there is less room to keep people who have been sentenced.

"If we had enough space obviously we could keep everybody, but we don't," she said.

McGuffey says in the last four months, 1,700 people who would have normally walked right back out the door have been held and forced to face a judge.

"We allow the judges to now see everybody," she explained. "On the catch and release we were choosing who goes out. It gives them so much more power, which they should have, that's where the decision needs to be made, on the judicial level of who gets out of jail, who gets a bond."

She argues it is safer to release someone who has spent time in jail, been evaluated by medical and psych staff, and seen a judge.

"It is a much safer community," she argued. "Are we going to have instances where we look back and say in hindsight that 'Gee that wouldn't have been a good guy to release'. I think that happens everywhere."

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