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In two southern Ohio counties, voters signaled on Tuesday that local officials dealing with jail overcrowding should focus on reducing incarceration, rather than championing expensive proposals to build bigger and shinier jails. In Hamilton County (Cincinnati), Charmaine McGuffey won the Democratic primary for sheriff, ousting incumbent Jim Neil by a resounding margin: 70 percent to 30 percent.

The tense campaign centered on Hamilton County’s poor jail conditions, Neil’s ties to ICE, and the circumstances of McGuffey’s departure from Neil’s office in 2017.

“People want to embrace criminal justice reform,” McGuffey told the Appeal: Political Report when asked how she interprets her large win. “People are not embracing any more costs to incarceration. … People understand that now is the time for us to get our fiscal house in order, and, morally, to stop mass incarcerating people.”

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