Behold Leis’ Comet

A day after Cincinnati City Council heatedly debated a proposal for building a temporary jail to stop the early release of prisoners, Mayor Mark Mallory held a private meeting with Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr., and Leis has scheduled a press conference to discuss jail issues.

Leis met Mallory in the mayor’s City Hall office at 8:40 a.m. today. Jason Barron, Mallory’s spokesman, said the mayor routinely meets with other elected officials and “nothing specific” was discussed.

But a Leis sighting at City Hall is rarer than a total eclipse or the passing of Hailey’s Comet. As the ancients thought those natural phenomena foretold important happenings, speculation is rampant among city officials about what the pair might be planning.

Leis has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. Friday, but won’t elaborate on the reason.

Both Leis and Mallory oppose the proposal by a city council faction to erect temporary tent-like structures on the site of the old City Workhouse on Colerain Avenue in Camp Washington and house prisoners there until a permanent jail is built. The facilities, which are used in Ohio and elsewhere nationwide, are made of aluminum frames with polyurethane coverings fortified by a concrete base. Generally, they also are surrounded by a barbed wire fence or barricade.

The so-called “sprung structures” could be erected in as short as three months, supporters said, and could serve as an interim step until a permanent jail is built in the next three to five years.

To derail council’s effort to push for the temporary jail, some city officials believe Leis might announce that Mallory will try to have the city help pay costs to house more prisoners at the Butler County jail. On Monday, Butler County officials offered to double the number of beds made available to Hamilton County prisoners, up to 400 per day, and drop the daily fee from $65 per prisoner to $55.

The distance between the two facilities is about 33 miles one-way, with an estimated driving time of 41 minutes, according to Mapquest.

— Kevin Osborne

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One Comment on “Behold Leis’ Comet”

  1. Peter Deane Says:

    Who gets to cut the ribbon?

    Maybe, the problem solvers of Hamilton County?

    I can only hope that they discussed love.

    Who knows?

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