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East Cleveland Leaders, Want Jail Closed Over Health, Safety Conditions

East Cleveland Leaders, Want Jail Closed Over Health, Safety Conditions

EAST CLEVELAND, OH— There are health and safety concerns East Cleveland city leaders and residents have about conditions at the East Cleveland city jail.


East Cleveland Councilwoman Demanding Penitentiary Closure

Juanita Gowdy, East Cleveland Councilwoman, is reportedly demanding the jail close. Gowdy wants all inmates transferred to another confinement facility in a neighboring city. She specifically wants them moved to another facility until more extensive repairs can be made.


Gowdy also said she’s concerned about inmates at the penitentiary. She is also worrying the confinement facility is a legal liability for a city. Because it has millions in lawsuit settlements in most recent years.


Gowdy said she felt surprise and disgust. “It should be shut down for remodeling and everything else. Nobody should be in there and I am very upset about it. The state already said close it down. So what they have to do is follow what the state says because the safety of the inmates matters.”


Gowdy was referencing a Jan. 30 inspection report from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. This report showed the jail was not in compliance with 66 separate standards.It revealed the jail “did not have a secure booking area,” had “old non-functioning CCTV cameras still installed.” The report also “didn’t show the equipment necessary to maintain utilities, security and fire protection in an emergency which functioned properly.”


East Cleveland community activist Justyn Anderson said the jail would close. However, that would depend if Cuyahoga County continues to regionalize the city penitentiary operations. But now, that has now been put on hold.


There are health and safety concerns East Cleveland city leaders and residents have about conditions at the East Cleveland city jail.


Rally, Protest to get Jail Shutdown

“I believe that the jail needs to be shut down immediately, the state has recommended that they house no one in this jail,” Anderson said. “The residents need to rally and protest and do whatever they need to do to get this jail shutdown. Maybe they should talk with Cleveland Heights about housing the inmates in their confinement facility. They were going to house the inmates in the Euclid jail, but the Euclid penitentiary ends up closing.”


East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner responded to News 5 and said the jail passed a Cuyahoga County health inspection on Sept. 2.


Gardner said many of the state violations are being remedied to the best of his department’s ability, based on the current city budget.


“Many of them listed as deficient were not deficient at all; the new jail administrator was not familiar with uploading the necessary documents in the State’s web site,” Gardner said,


In a follow-up statement, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections spokesperson JoEllen Smith said the penitentiary staff is making an effort.


“The jail is actively engaging in the corrective action process,” Smith said. “When the process is complete, a final letter will be sent noting the progress.”

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