Warren County Jail cracks down, puts doors back on cells after riot squelched

Posted at 1:01 AM, Aug 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-09 16:13:04-04

LEBANON, Ohio -- Sheriff Larry Sims said corrections officers were forced to put doors back on 42 maximum security cells after what he described as a planned riot earlier in the month.

“We have seen a change in the type of individuals coming in our jail especially,” he told county commissioners Tuesday. “A lot more unruly, a lot more volatile, more serious crimes.”

That "volatile" population was behind the intention to riot Aug. 1, he said. After a scuffle involving eight men in which a female security guard was knocked off her feet, inmates in one of the jail’s cell pods were kept indoors through their scheduled recreation time.

“You had a number of inmates that started to become more and more vocal about it,” Sims said. “‘If we don’t come out in our rec time at 6, we are coming out anyway.’”

Because there were no doors on their cells, around 20 inmates left their spaces, prompting jail officials to call other local agencies for backup assistance.

The disturbance was stopped before it started, however. Sims described the reinstallation of the doors, which were taken off their hinges in 2011, as a development that would make officers “a lot safer” and the jail “a lot quieter.”

Because of the changes some cells in the Warren County Jail are now so small they violate state standards, but the jail can still technically pass inspection despite the cramped living spaces, he said. He plans to seek a variance from the state allowing these conditions until a new jail can be built.