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DeWine Orders Regular State Monitoring Of Cuyahoga County Jail

Cuyahoga County Jail. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
Cuyahoga County Jail

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is ordering the state to conduct monthly inspections of the Cuyahoga County Jail, threatening "additional legal action" if conditions at the facility don't improve.

The governor's office has also asked the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to more than double the staff of the bureau that conducts jail inspections, according to a Thursday news release.

"Those with the Ohio Bureau of Adult Detention have worked hard with limited resources to annually inspect local jails, but their examinations haven’t been as comprehensive as I believe they should be,” DeWine said in the release. “It’s time that this division has the tools to effectively carry out its statutory obligations.”

The bureau would expand from six to 15 employees, adding a registered nurse to examine jail medical care.

Last November, the U.S. Marshals Service released a report calling conditions at the jail "inhumane." But previous annual state inspections of the facility found few problems, until a report this February cited the jail for 84 violations of state standards.

DeWine asked ODRC to reexamine its inspection process in March. The county jail is now out of compliance with 66 of 135 state standards, according to the news release.

DeWine is asking the General Assembly and state prison system to write legislation allowing surprise inspections at local jails, according to the release. He also asked for other reforms, such as mandatory reporting of jail deaths and wider circulation of inspection reports among local officials.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish requested the marshals’ investigation last year in the wake of several deaths at the jail. Since the release of the marshals’ report, prosecutors have charged the former jail director, former warden and several corrections officers with a laundry list of felonies and misdemeanors, 

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.