Sheriff declares ‘state of emergency’ at crowded county jail

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio sheriff says overcrowding at the county jail has led him to declare a “state of emergency” and reach out to neighboring counties for help in housing inmates.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil said Wednesday that the inmate population at the Hamilton County Justice Center in Cincinnati reached 1,611 over the weekend, about 30 percent above its designed maximum.

In a letter to County Commissioner Todd Portune, Neil said the jail is operating “far below” state standards and that conditions have reached a “boiling point.”

Neil says 25 inmates were transferred to the Butler County Jail on Wednesday and he’s checking if other jails have any space.

Portune says housing inmates in other counties is expensive and unnecessary. He says a task force is already looking into jail overcrowding. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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