A political fight in the Cincinnati City Council over buying more ankle bracelets to monitor low-level criminal offenders obscures a basic truth, Hamilton County Simon Leis tells the Cincinnati Enquirer: Even if the city and the county purchase electronic monitoring units by the hundreds, it’s only a temporary fix. “No amount of EMU’s can replace the 800-bed jail we had to close,” he said.
The fight began after some council members wanted to use part of $1.2 million in stimulus money given to the city by the U.S. Department of Justice to lease 75 electronic monitoring units, a tool that allows a suspect or convict to be monitored while living at home. Mayor Mark Mallory sent that proposal to committee, meaning it will likely die without a hearing. Those new units would have come on top of 75 electronic monitoring units the county plans to lease with its own $1.2 million in stimulus dollars. Leis believes that 75 or even 150 units won’t have a major impact. “It is just a temporary stop-gap,” he said. “There’s just no way this criminal justice problem can be solved without jail beds.” What pushed the issue out front was the arrest of Miciah Black, 20, who was repeatedly ordered jailed on minor offenses, but repeatedly released due to overcrowding. While out, he is accused of raping a teenager in a downtown park.