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Demonstrators Protest Cuyahoga County Jail Conditions

Demonstrators against conditions in the county jail march around the Justice Center in Cleveland on Tuesday. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
Demonstrators march in Cleveland, including a man holding a sign that reads "Bail Reform Now"

Several dozen people gathered outside the Justice Center in Cleveland on Tuesday to protest conditions in the Cuyahoga County Jail.

The activists listed demands in letters to judges and county officials, asking for an update in the next few weeks. They want county and court leaders to reform the bail system, provide better mental healthcare and make other changes at the facility.

“Hopefully they will give us the update that we’ve asked for in the letters by Martin Luther King Day,” Rachael Collyer with the Ohio Student Association said. “And if we don’t receive it, we’re going to continue to escalate, we’re going to continue to organize, we’re going to bring in more people, and we’re not going to give up. This is not going to go away.”

Around 50 people attended the protest. The names of numerous groups are listed on the letter, including Black Lives Matter, the Ohio Student Assocition and Puncture the Silence-Stop Mass Incarceration. 

Activists held signs bearing the names of jail inmates who have died in recent months, including that of a man who died after a suicide attempt in late December last year.

A November report by the U.S. Marshals Service found jail conditions to be “inhumane.” The county now faces a lawsuit filed on behalf of jail inmates.

In December, the county hired a consultant to help it resolve problems at the jail.

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