CLEVELAND -- A Cleveland city councilman is calling for change, saying he’s seen firsthand the inhumane conditions inside the Cuyahoga County Jail and something needs to happen now.
Councilman Basheer Jones rallied with the NAACP, religious leaders, community activists and others on the steps of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and Jail on Thursday, calling for change and continued awareness of the conditions inside. He says the physical conditions and treatment of the inmates is inhumane and more laws are in place to protect animals instead of humans.
The Cuyahoga County Jail has been plagued by numerous issues including a series of inmate deaths, short staffing and scathing reports about horrific conditions for inmates and lack of medical care. The FOX 8 I-TEAM has done several investigations and revealed the troubling conditions inside. As far as improvements regarding staffing and training, we're told there is a new jail administrator and a new warden is coming in. However, inmates, their families, and jail employees themselves all have made it clear they believe the reforms are not moving quickly enough.
Councilman Jones says:
“The focus of the Justice Center should be rehabilitation. But instead it is just recidivism. People are going to jail, and they are just becoming better criminals. They come back out; they affect our community and go right back. So, we are asking as a community, if we are going to love our dogs, which we should, we should also love human beings as well.”
Describing the conditions inside, Jones goes on to say:
"To see people sleeping on the floor, to see inmates who are in their cells where their toilets have been broke for weeks and they have to wake up smelling their own feces and their own urine— you are talking about trays of moldy food, that is what they have to eat."
The goal of the rally was to bring about immediate change and to give people hope. Councilman Jones says, we want the people in here to have hope that they can leave here and become better human beings.
The group wants the attorney general to investigate over-sentencing, address inhumane conditions and address bail reform.