CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Six inmates have reportedly died in the Cuyahoga County jails since June, the most in one year in at least a decade.
Cleveland Judge Michael Nelson says he will not set bonds for criminal defendants that are charged with non-violent crimes because he believes the jail is no longer safe after the multiple deaths.
"We are very concerned about the recent deaths in the County jail. While each situation is individual and we are still in the process of investigating the causes of each inmate's death, there is a common thread – each death occurred within our County jail system.
What makes the issue even more urgent is that, over time, our jails have become a site for placement of those with severe drug problems, emotional problems and suicidal tendencies. This is not specific to Cuyahoga County. In fact, there has been a spate of deaths in jails nationwide because of these trends.
But these complexities do not relieve us of our responsibility to the safety and welfare of our inmates. That is why we will be asking County Council to fund an independent expert with extensive background and expertise in best practices in correctional facilities to do a thorough, independent assessment of the entire jail operation.
The analysis will cover all of our facilities – the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center, the Euclid Jail Annex and the Bedford Heights Comprehensive Re-Entry Programming Center.
Following the assessment, we anticipate a set of recommendations which we will share with the residents of Cuyahoga County.
We will do what is necessary and required to the ensure the safety of everyone who is placed in our jail."