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Hamilton County Giving Jail Inmates Flip-Flops To Reduce Drug Smuggling

Hamilton County Justice Center
Bill Rinehart
Hamilton County Justice Center

The Hamilton County Justice Center is trying something new to reduce illegal drug trade within the jail: Inmates will soon be given flip-flops rather than shoes.

"Shoes are an awesome way of hiding contraband," says Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil. "They can be manipulated for weapons, for drugs, so we're going to take them away."

Inmates will still be able to wear socks, and the Sheriff's Department isn't doing away with shoes altogether.

"They will be able to wear them when they attend court, but when they're in the secured area of the lock-up they're going to be in flip-flops,” Neil says.

Neil says illegal drug smuggling is a constant battle inside the Justice Center, with people who know they're going to jail showing up having swallowed balloons of drugs or attempting to hide them within their bodies.

"Going to court knowing (they're) going to be sentenced, they come ready...because the addict knows that they're going to be incarcerated so they're going to do what they can do to try to get their product in with them,” Neil says.

The Justice Center uses body scanners and K9s to try to detect the drugs.

The announcement comes as the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office is indicting Kadeem Kelley for one count of involuntary manslaughter, one count of corrupting another with drugs, and one count of trafficking in a fentanyl-related compound.

Kelley is accused of providing fentanyl to another inmate, Satwinder Singh, who died following an overdose in March.

Singh was in jail accused of driving under the influence of drugs, jumping a curb and striking two-year-old Dameon Turner, Jr., on Dec. 30, 2018. The toddler died.