An Army of One
By France Griggs Sloat
Simon Leis strolls easily down the maze of hallways in the 1,400-bed county jail. The taps on his shiny black shoes click with each step he takes, echoing off the concrete walls and metal bars.
He’s leading an entourage of administrators, all dressed like him in dark suits and ties, on a surprise inspection. And he is clearly in charge. Looking for cleanliness, he’s pleased with what he sees, and only once leans over to pick up a tiny scrap of paper. As he strolls, he proudly points out improvements to the showers and takes a moment to greet a gray-and-white striped inmate mopping an already gleaming floor. Leis jokes they knew he was coming.
Corrections officers, their fit physiques dressed in pressed uniforms, snap salutes as he approaches each locked door. Prisoners watch as he goes by. As sheriff of Ohio’s Hamilton County, Leis is the man responsible for putting each one of them where they are—behind bars. He seems unfazed and unafraid.Continued