Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail

Armond Budish, Cuyahoga County Executive; Cuyahoga County Council; Judge John Russo & the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court; Judge Michelle Earley; Brandy Carney, Chief Public Safety & Justices Services Officer; Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, Cuyahoga County

The recent regionalization of the Cuyahoga County Jail, designed to pad the county budget and build flourishing careers for those at the top of this system, brought the longstanding County/Jail crisis to extremes, including the deaths of 8 detainees in the second half of 2018 and 69 suicide attempts in 2018, a 64% increase from 2017.

The extent of the inhumanity is now revealed after years of Cuyahoga County’s mismanagement, intentional overcrowding, unethical judicial practices, and coercive plea deals, traumatizing and abusing poor and vulnerable residents with brutality, humiliation and high bonds and fees.

The inhumanity and abuse of power within the Cuyahoga County Jail and criminal justice system exists within a larger context of white supremacy and mass incarceration in America.  Mass incarceration is an extension of legalized slavery and is part of US political & economic systems which exist to maintain deeply inequitable classes of citizens in the United States. Hundreds of years of systemic and sanctioned racial and class oppression and brutality have resulted in the development of the criminal justice system as we know it, resulting in the disproportionate filling of our jails and prisons with the economically deprived and people of color.

The conditions within Cuyahoga County Jail system violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The people in charge have known about the inhumane conditions and constitutional violations for years, yet have failed to remedy the deplorable state of affairs in a timely or effective manner, reinforcing an oppressive system, boosting their budgets and their careers.

To that end, the Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail is demanding immediate change and accountability!

1. Bring all the Cuyahoga County Jails, including the one at the “Justice” Center, the Juvenile Detention Center, Euclid, and Bedford Hts., into compliance with the "Minimum Standards for Jails in Ohio."

2. Provide full access to healthcare services. Immediately end the deprivation of resources, including food, water, and medicine/medical services, including addiction treatment.

3. Establish Mental Health diversion centers, serving needs/lessening overcrowding.

4. End the transfer of children to adult correctional facilities.

5. Increase funding to support reentry support services: Implement policies and approaches that link those reentering society with needed treatment, housing, employment.

6. End the use of criminal history, including past convictions, in determining eligibility for housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, employment, and other services and needs.

7. Carry out the swift implementation of bail reform. Honor the county’s commitment to reforms by centralizing bail hearings, investing in comprehensive pretrial services, establishing uniform bond schedules (county-wide), and releasing anyone held for a low-level offense on personal recognizance.

8. Begin systematic data collection, reporting, and transparency.

9. Set up independent oversight, governed and led by a committee of affected community members, over the Criminal Justice Reform Task Force.

10. Repay your moral debt to all those subjected to the Jail inhumanity through acknowledgement, apology, assurance of future protection from harm, and material reparations the details of which must be determined through mediation with affected inmates, overseen by independent practitioners of transformative justice.

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To: Armond Budish, Cuyahoga County Executive; Cuyahoga County Council; Judge John Russo & the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court; Judge Michelle Earley; Brandy Carney, Chief Public Safety & Justices Services Officer; Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, Cuyahoga County
From: [Your Name]

The recent regionalization of the Cuyahoga County Jail, designed to pad the county budget and build flourishing careers for those at the top of this system, brought the longstanding County/Jail crisis to extremes, including the deaths of 8 detainees in the second half of 2018 and 69 suicide attempts in 2018, a 64% increase from 2017.

The extent of the inhumanity is now revealed after years of Cuyahoga County’s mismanagement, intentional overcrowding, unethical judicial practices, and coercive plea deals, traumatizing and abusing poor and vulnerable residents with brutality, humiliation and high bonds and fees.

The inhumanity and abuse of power within the Cuyahoga County Jail and criminal justice system exists in a larger context of white supremacy and mass incarceration in America. This is an extension of legalized slavery and systems that exist to maintain deeply inequitable classes of citizens in the United States. Hundreds of years of systemic and sanctioned racial and class oppression and brutality have resulted in the development of the criminal justice system as we know it, resulting in the disproportionate filling of our jails and prisons with the economically deprived and people of color.

The conditions within Cuyahoga County Jail system violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The people in charge have known about the inhumane conditions and constitutional violations for years, yet have failed to remedy the deplorable state of affairs in a timely or effective manner, reinforcing an oppressive system, boosting their budgets and their careers.

To that end, the Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail is demanding immediate change and accountability!

1. Bring all the Cuyahoga County Jails, including the one at the “Justice” Center, the Juvenile Detention Center, Euclid, and Bedford Hts., into compliance with the "Minimum Standards for Jails in Ohio"

2. Provide full access to healthcare services. Immediately end the deprivation of resources, including food, water, and medicine/medical services, including addiction treatment.

3. Establish Mental Health diversion centers, serving needs/lessening overcrowding.

4. End the transfer of children to adult correctional facilities.

5. Increase funding to support reentry support services: Implement policies and approaches that link those reentering society with needed treatment, housing, employment.

6. End the use of criminal history, including past convictions, in determining eligibility for housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, employment, and other services and needs.

7. Carry out swift implementation of bail reform, adding a full array of pretrial services.

8. Begin systematic data collection, reporting, and transparency.

9. Set up independent oversight, governed and led by a committee of affected community members, over the Criminal Justice Reform Task Force.

10. Repay your moral debt to all those subjected to the Jail inhumanity through acknowledgement, apology, assurance of future protection from harm, and material reparations.

The Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail:

Black Lives Matter Cleveland
Black On Black Crime, Inc.
Carl Stokes Brigade
Cleveland Democratic Socialists of America
Cleveland Lead Safe Network
Communist Party USA Cleveland
Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus (CCPC)
Imperial Women Coalition
Inter-Religious Task Force
Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition
Ohio Organizing Collaborative
Ohio Student Association
Puncture the Silence-Stop Mass Incarceration
Refuse Fascism Cleveland
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) NEO
Survivors/Victims of Tragedy, Inc.
Tamir E. Rice Foundation