Winter Storm impact: Northeast Ohio communities issue parking bans

I-TEAM: 195 inmates sleeping on county jail floor, union says

CLEVELAND — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found Cuyahoga County Jail guards have continued to raise new concerns about overcrowding and safety in the county jail over the weekend, including filing a complaint saying there are 195 inmates sleeping on the floor.

This week the county administration announced it would hire an outside consultant to review all jail operations since six inmates have died in a matter of months. The jail has been chronically overcrowded, corrections officers have complained about the danger to themselves and inmates, and county leaders have even heard alarming warnings about shortages of medical care in the lock-up.

In a new grievance, a union director wrote, “This jail never sleeps.”

He outlined how nearly 200 inmates are sleeping on mattresses on the floor. And, he called for more patrols in the jail by the SRT, special response corrections officers.

Another officer also filed a grievance saying guards were “quadruple podded.” In other words, one officer assigned to monitor four housing areas. That grievance said officers in those situations also did not have anyone in the “control room” as back-up overseeing those sections of the jail. Corrections officers see this as extremely dangerous.

The “quadruple” podding and the inmates on the floor have also been the focus of other grievances or complaints in the past.

Meantime, last week, Cleveland Judge Michael Nelson said he would try to avoid sending anyone to the Cuyahoga County Jail considering it unsafe. And Friday, the I-TEAM revealed suspects charged with domestic violence, drugs, weapons charges, and more were allowed to walk out of court after their first appearances before the judge. They were released with a promise to come back for future hearings.

The I-TEAM has confirmed that the FBI has also been investigating inside the Cuyahoga County Jail, but the FBI hasn’t said why.

Continuing coverage, here.

Editor’s note: This script has been updated from 165 to 195 to reflect new information.