The Times photo by Betsy Reason
The Times photo by Betsy Reason
More and more inmates are being housed at the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office complex on Cumberland Road and as part of a long term plan to address the situation, juvenile offenders in secure detention have been relocated to a different area of the property.

The rehabilitation of the former Juvenile Detention Center is complete and juveniles held in secure detention were transferred to the building over the weekend. Juveniles housed in Shelter Care remain in the current facility.

The "new" Juvenile Detention Center is actually the area that housed juvenile offenders prior to the opening in 2008 of the Juvenile Services Center. The building saw a variety of uses in the past years, including office space and most recently housing maximum security adult inmates.

As part of a solution to the increasing adult inmate population, Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen, the Hamilton County Commissioners, and the Hamilton County Council formed a plan to move the juvenile population back to the older building. The building required renovation to bring it up to current standards for housing juveniles.

Moving the juvenile offenders allows the conversion of the secure wing of the Juvenile Services Center into an area to house the growing adult female inmate population after the building is modified. Moving the female population in turn creates more room at the current adult jail to accommodate the male population.

The inmate housing configuration which maximizes available bed space on the campus is expected to last until an expansion of the Hamilton County Jail is completed. Officials are still working on exact details for the number of additional beds to include in the expansion that is expected to break ground on the Sheriff's Office complex sometime in


Efforts continue to reduce the inmate population through bond modifications, by assignments to Community Corrections in work release type programs, and through the pre-trial release program.

Along with the transfer of juveniles to the new area, Sheriff Bowen appointed Capt. Kija Ireland as Commander of the Juvenile Division. Ireland, who becomes the first female deputy to oversee a division at the Sheriff's Office, has worked in a variety of positions as a Merit Deputy since 1998, most recently serving as a detective in the Investigations Division.

Capt. Jeff Marcum, who headed the Juvenile Division for many years, is assisting Ireland during the transition period and also working in the Investigations Division.