Violence, mold and stenches: Former inmate describes 265 days in Cuyahoga County Jail.

Violence, mold and stenches: Former inmate describes 265 days in Cuyahoga County Jail.
Cuyahoga County Jail (Source: woio)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A lot of what James Barker describes we have heard and seen before: “You got mold on the trays, you got mouses, you got bugs.”

Violence, mold and stenches: Former inmate describes 265 days in Cuyahoga County Jail.

In fact, a Cleveland 19 story from 2002 documented that many of the same conditions existed then.

The way Barker spent 265 days locked up in a filthy jail for a crime he was acquitted of is just as appalling as the conditions he had to live in. He was accused of rape by a homeless woman who he took in, and who he says he took to various social service agencies for help.

There is no doubt the woman spent parts of five days at Barker’s apartment. But at trial, she gave conflicting stories and it was shown she had full access to her cell phone the whole time.

“I had weighed 197 pounds when I came in here. When I left to go to Lorain, I weighed 174 pounds," said Barker.

The food and vermin complaints may be fixable. Meet Jennifer Murphy. Her husband is in jail and says since the U.S. Marshal’s investigation things have gotten somewhat better.

“There’s still not keeping up with sanitation, making the inmates,...There’s a lot of inmates not showering and taking care of themselves.”

Meantime, Barker says 60 people use one shower, and he’s seen inmates have a seizure and no one responded for far longer than it should have taken.

He says he feared guards, especially the Special Response Team’s members. He was asked “How’d they treat you?”

His reply was telling: “Not too good. As far as the SRT’s coming in there. Special Response Teams beating people down for no reason.”

Seventeen years ago Cleveland 19 pointed out inmates eating, washing up and even using toilet facilities with a roomful of others watching.

It appears not too much has changed since 2002.

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