Number of COs at troubled Ohio jail increases to highest tally yet, county says
The U.S. Marshals Service cited understaffing and lockdowns in a November report on problems at the downtown jail
By Courtney Astolfi
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The number of corrections officers at the Cuyahoga County jails increased in recent weeks to 626, believed to be the highest tally ever, the county reported Friday.
Twenty-seven officers were hired in August to staff the downtown jail and nine additional officers were transferred downtown from the county’s satellite jail in Euclid to help alleviate understaffing, according to a news release.
In the release, County Executive Armond Budish called the increase “solid progress” but said there is “much more work to be done” to compensate for turnover.
The new hires still don’t bring the number of corrections officers to 675, the number that then-Sheriff Cliff Pinkney said earlier this year would be needed to end the practice of locking inmates in their cells for hours for lack of guards.
The news release also does not report how many of the corrections officers are not available to work. As of Aug. 6, the county reported that 42 guards were not working due to disciplinary or medical issues.
County Council in January signed off on $3.5 million to hire 60 additional guards and the managers needed to supervise them, raising the number of authorized positions to 675.
The U.S. Marshals Service cited understaffing and lockdowns in a November report on problems at the downtown jail. Eight inmates died in 2018, one died in 2019, and the jail is the subject of an FBI civil rights investigation and an Ohio Attorney General’s Office criminal probe.
©2019 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland