The FOX 8 I TEAM has uncovered complaints filed by corrections officers inside the Cuyahoga County Jail outlining health and safety concerns for inmates and guards, and we’ve obtained pictures giving us a peek behind jail doors.
A grievance filed by union leaders sounds an alarm about a section of the jail sources say hadn’t been used in a long time, but is now being used due to overcrowding.
The grievance cites “life safety and unsanitary conditions,” “no running water for the inmates,” and “no cameras in either area of the pod and the radios don’t work either.” Corrections officers tell the I TEAM in recent days an inmate assaulted a guard in that area, and in fact, the officer had trouble calling out for help on his two-way radio. The union says his calls either didn’t go through, or they went through with the signal broken up.
Another grievance refers to severe overcrowding in another section of the jail. It cites “27 inmates in the cells and 16 inmates on the floor.” And, the complaint raises the concerns of “First officer safety and second the escape risk factor of the inmates on the floor.”
Overcrowding in the Cuyahoga County jail has been an ongoing problem. The county said recently the facility was built to hold more than 1700 inmates, but the population has been running about 500 over that.
As for the grievances and new concerns, Cuyahoga County spokesperson Mary Louise Madigan issued a statement:
“The county hasn’t begun the formal grievance process, so it is inappropriate for me to discuss it. It will be considered soon but I don’t have a date yet.
The safety of the inmates and the corrections officers is paramount and the jail is regularly inspected. After the grievance is heard there will be a report. “
Union leaders call it a “hostile work environment” that “places the officers lives at risk.”