Nurse attacked, narcotics seized at Cuyahoga County Jail as crisis deepens

A source, who works at the Justice Center, reports the seized heroin and fentanyl could have killed the entire prison population.
Tuesday afternoon community groups will be demanding reforms at the Cuyahoga County Jail.
Tuesday afternoon community groups will be demanding reforms at the Cuyahoga County Jail.
Updated: Jan. 24, 2019 at 10:57 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cuyahoga County Jail is facing a crisis following multiple deaths, drug overdoses and inmate attacks over the past several months.

The latest incident occurred Wednesday morning when a female nurse was grabbed from behind by an inmate in the jail’s medical unit.

Corrections officers immediately intervened, and placed the inmate in the jail’s restrictive housing unit, according to Cuyahoga County Spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan.

The nurse, who is employed by MetroHealth Medical Center, received a precautionary medical check, and returned to work shortly after the incident.

Also, over the weekend an inmate overdosed, which led to a drug search and the seizure of narcotics within a jail pod that houses 48 inmates, said Madigan.

The inmate was treated at MetroHealth, then sent back to jail.

According to a source who works at the jail, enough heroin and fentanyl was found to kill the entire inmate population.

A 2018 U.S. Marshals report exposed the conditions at the jail, calling it “inhumane,” and the agency recently pulled all of their inmates from the facility.

At least six people died last year in the jail, prompting a public outcry, protests and a lawsuit against Cuyahoga County leadership. (A seventh inmate, who attempted to commit suicide at the jail, later died at a hospital.)

The conditions are reportedly so bad that Cuyahoga County judge Michael Nelson has refused to send people to the Justice Center.

Return to Cleveland 19 for updates on this developing story.

Editor’s note: The story incorrectly reported the nurse was strangled and choked when it was first published. The story has been updated to correctly say the nurse was attacked from behind and was grabbed around her neck and shoulders. Cleveland 19 News regrets the error.

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