Outgoing Cuyahoga County sheriff answers questions about jail conditions

CLEVELAND-Answering tough questions about the troubled state of the Cuyahoga County Jail.

With his personal attorney by his side, outgoing Cuyahoga County Sheriff Cliff Pinkney answered questions from county council members Tuesday about the current state of the jail.

Councilman Dan Brady asked, "What boots do you have on the ground to be assessing on a day to day basis what's going on in the jail?"

Pinkney responds, "We would have a bi-weekly meeting as well as a monthly meeting with all of the units in the sheriff's office. In those meetings we would discuss any, and everything that came up."

Last November, U.S. Marshals releasing a scathing report about life-threatening conditions inside the jail; this, as a ninth inmate in less than a year died in custody.

When asked about improvements regarding staffing and training, he said, "Specifically in corrections, we now have a new jail administrator. We're getting a warden. We have three associate wardens, possibly getting two assistant wardens. We're getting 8 new lieutenants."

Back in May, vocal community activists rallied in front of the Justice Center, calling for immediate changes, claiming more than a year after the county council was informed about the conditions little has been done to make the jail safer.

Councilwoman Shontell Brown asked, "Do you believe that the county jail would be better off if we had deputies in the jail versus corrections officers?"

"No, not really. Corrections officers, contrary to what's being played out now, those folks are very professional and they get specialized training in corrections,” said Pinkney.

But, he admits to overcrowding in the jails, the facilities being understaffed and the need to build a new jail.

Pinkney’s last day as sheriff is Friday, August 2.

Read more, here.

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