County spies way to save jail beds
A committee working to solve jail overcrowding in Hamilton County has come across a simple way to empty more beds without letting inmates out early.
It changed the procedure relating to "holds" by other counties.
A hold means the inmate is wanted by a police agency in another state or a non-adjoining Ohio county.
In 2006, Hamilton County held roughly 1,000 inmates a total of 19,480 days for their crimes here and on holds. Some of those jail days--though it's unclear how many-- were spent just on that inmate awaiting transport to the other agency.
Why? Because the county wasn't holding extradition hearings for inmates until right before he or she was to be released. Extradition hearings are special hearings required before inmates with holds can be handed over to the outside agency.
The practice of holding extradition hearings at or near the inmate's release date has been in place as long as anyone can remember, according to Sheriff's Office Director of Corrections Joe Schmitz, who is on the committee. They've now determined it is legal to hold the hearings early, thereby cutting down on the number of days the person is waiting for the other jurisdiction to pick him up.
So they're changing the policy.
Commissioner David Pepper estimates the change could save the county up to 10,000 jail bed days a year based on the 2006 numbers. Last year the jail housed 878 inmates with holds.