CLEVELAND, Ohio — The FOX 8 I-Team went inside the Cuyahoga County Jail asking more questions after another inmate got out of a cell believed to be locked.
Last month, the I-Team revealed video of how cell doors could be opened with a plastic spoon or potato chip bag. And Wednesday night, an inmate got out of a cell after jamming something in a lock.
Meantime, corrections officers have been posting alarming messages on social media sites about the doors and staffing. At times, one or two guards have to watch nearly 100 inmates. Frank Lee Hocker, a corrections officer, said, “It’s becoming very serious and dangerous.” Another, Charles Enoch, added, “At the end of the day, nobody should wonder if they’re gonna make it home at the end of their shift.”
However, the top man at the jail responded. Ken Mills said, “The inmates in my jail are not walking around freely. They are secure.”
Mills calls the concerns about the doors exaggerated. He says crews found only one door lock broken. And inmates shouldn’t be able to use chip bags to open locks if correction officers are paying close attention. Mills added no one came to him with concerns about the doors until the videos appeared, so he was blindsided by the videos which were produced by a corrections officer.
Mills said, “All these incidents could be prevented if the locks would be checked properly when we’re locking ‘em down.” He also defends having one guard responsible for several dozen inmates at times. “The ‘double-podding’ is done when the inmates are on lockdown. They’re in their cells. They’re not out,” said Mills.
One union leader responded by saying the latest inmate to get out of a cell did it even after the lock had been checked.
The county points out this is all coming to light since the administration is involved in contract negotiations with the corrections officers. The union says there’s no connection, and guards are hoping to have an outside party such as the state look into all this.
“I just pray that no one really gets hurt,” said Enoch.