The new sheriff has message for people arrested in Hamilton County. Remember when you were arrested, booked, then let go? Those days are over.
Sheriff Jim Neil says he has found a way to hold on to people arrested for a couple of days until they see a judge and get a bond, or a court date. "Prisoners booked and released often didn't show up to court, generating an expensive capias that costs taxpayers hundreds of dollars to serve," Neil says. "The message will get out to offenders the sheriff is holding you no more revolving door to answer you question it will have an impact."
Sheriff Neil believes this will impact crime since prisoners will no longer be immediately back in neighborhoods 45 minutes after being arrested.
For the past six weeks, any man arrested stays behind bars until he can see a judge..usually a couple of days. "As a police officer, as a sheriff, it's embarrassing, when an offender beats the officer back to territory," Sheriff Neil explains. "That's what I'm stopping."
It stops something else: capiases issued when prisoners are let go promise to show up for court and don't. "By releasing and not showing up for court, capiases costs hundreds of dollars to clear, probably 600 dollars" says Neil. "It's not unusual to catch people with 18 capiases, 8 capiases, everyone has numerous ones. For the last five years we've been doing a revolving door."
Detainees stay in their civilian clothes and in single bed cells away from the general population. To make room, officials looks at inmates who have nearly completed a sentence, such as 70 days of a 90 day sentence. That person does the remaining 20 days in home incarceration with a bracelet, which frees up a cell to keep the revolving door closed. "Biggest deterrent is to know you are going to be held in jail, to know if I get caught I'm going to jail and stay there. That's the message we're putting out now."
Over this past weekend, the 70 men arrested got that message loud and clear.
There are fewer beds for women at the Justice Center so women are detained whenever there is a free cell.
Sheriff Neil also announced the department has signed a contract for an audit that will be conducted by civil rights lawyer Scott Greenwood and former police chief Tom Streicher. Neil says the team has been hired to conduct an independent fiscal and operational audit of the sheriff's office, costing $50,000.