I-Team: Exclusive pictures reveal problems in local jail

CLEVELAND-The Fox 8 I-Team has obtained exclusive pictures from inside the Cuyahoga County Jail, and we have explosive new claims from an inmate who testified about conditions before a Common Pleas Court judge.

The pictures show one section of the jail which had been previously used as a holding area for prisoners going to court.

But one inmate told a judge, he spent a week there. A transcript shows he testified, “I ate food with my hands.

There was no running water. We were not allowed to shower. I had bites all over from the bedbugs.” He had told the judge he’s a military veteran, and he added, “I’ve been in prisons overseas. I mean, it was something on a third world country.”

The I-Team has shown you, the Cuyahoga County Jail has been under a microscope for severe overcrowding, 6 inmate deaths, and more.

That inmate also told the court, he saw inmates doing drugs that had been smuggled in. And, he also spoke up when asked about talk of an escape or hostage. He said, “Yeah. …they were opening up panels up on top of the ceiling…and they were crawling up in there.”

The jail has been swarming lately with federal agencies and state inspectors. Concern over conditions has become an uproar.

The claims about the jail made in court began with a letter from an inmate to the judge on his case. She held a hearing to get it all on the record under oath. The transcript was then forwarded on to make sure more eyes in the justice system are taking a hard look inside the lock- up.

We went to the director’s office. We were told he was unavailable, and he didn’t return a message.

Meantime, we met a mother tearing up talking about conditions while leaving the jail after visiting her son. She said, "It's very shivering as a mother. As a parent.

There are basic civil rights. Everybody deserves that.”

You should know, the inmate speaking out to his judge is facing a series of felony charges.

Realistically, nobody expects jail to be heaven.

But now, a growing cry to do better than this.

The US Marshals have not yet released a report yet on their review of the jail. The OH Dept of Corrections also has not yet released a report on the state’s most recent inspection.

Meantime, the Sheriff has said he wants an independent firm hired to review the jail operations, too.

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