Leis: Put Prisoners to Work for Early Release

Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. is criticizing local judges — most of them fellow Republicans — for imposing jail sentences that don’t allow prisoners to be released early in exchange for performing manual labor for the sheriff’s office.

Leis held a press conference this morning to pressure judges into letting more prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes participate in the 2-for-1 and 3-for-1 programs, in which they can get two or three days taken off their sentences for each day worked.

“This program provides a pool of workers and relieves overcrowding,” Leis said.

In recent years, judges increasingly aren’t allowing that option. On Thursday alone, Leis said, the Hamilton County Justice Center held 255 prisoners who weren’t eligible for the program because of sentencing conditions imposed by judges.

“When we don’t have the necessary inmates to work our (jail) kitchen, that’s a problem,” Leis said. “You’ve got to give them some type of incentive. When you have inmates working, they get out sooner than their sentences call for, and that helps crowding problems.”

Besides kitchen duty, prisoners who participate in the early release program also wash the cars of county officials, cut grass and empty litter, along with various other types of labor.

Among the judges cited on a list released by Leis are Municipal Judge William Mallory, who sentenced 72 prisoners currently in the jail who aren’t eligible for the work program; Municipal Judge Elizabeth Mattingly, who sentenced 30 prisoners; Municipal Judge Heather Russell, who sentenced 19 prisoners; and Municipal judges Lisa Allen and Alex Triantafilou, who each sentenced 18 prisoners.

For at least the past decade, Leis has pressed county officials to build a larger jail. An average of 22 prisoners are released early each day due to a lack of space.

— Kevin Osborne

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One Comment on “Leis: Put Prisoners to Work for Early Release”

  1. one advocate Says:

    how can leis claim that we need more jail space i one breath and that he doesn’t have enough inmates for work details in another.

    so, early release because of jail overcrowding is bad for society yet, letting them out for doing work is somehow safer for the community.

    what is the difference ??

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