Sheriff Clifford Pinkney points to Armond Budish as source of Justice Center dysfunction while testifying in front of Cuyahoga County Council

Sheriff Pinkney testifies before county council over Justice Center scandal

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney says he didn’t have full responsibility of running the Justice Center, but he is taking much of the blame for the scandals that have plagued the prison over the last 12 months.

He chose his words carefully while testifying before Cuyahoga County Council Tuesday, repeating the theme often of how hiring, firing and other pivotal jail decisions were made “up the ladder.”

That points directly at the administration of Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish.

It was clear during Pinkney’s testimony that council members found it hard to believe jail director Ken Mills was ever hired given his lack of experience. Again, Pinkney stressed that he didn’t have hiring authority for the position.

The jail is designed for about 1,700 inmates, but it averages around 2,100, and has peaked at more than 2,400.

Pinkney says the only solution is a new jail, and that he was never given authority by Budish to do his job.

A tentative executive session with the sheriff has been set for Aug. 13, so that more specific questions can be asked without the answers being public where they could be used against the county in pending lawsuits from former inmates who allege mistreatment.

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