CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cuyahoga County officials said Friday they are sending inmates at the troubled and overpopulated county jail to jails in other counties.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said in a statement that the county sent 36 inmates to Geauga and Wood counties’ jails. The county expects to move another 10 to other jails next week, Budish said.
As part of a joint effort between county judges, prosecutor’s office, public defender’s office and the executive’s office, 30 inmates held on low-level, non-violent felonies have been released from the jail this week.
The county jail’s population on Friday dropped below 2,000 inmates for the first time “in a long time,” Budish said. Budish spokeswoman Eliza Wing said officials are reviewing the jail’s roster daily and expect to continue to send inmates to other county jails as needed.
There are 1,965 inmates at the jail that is built to house 1,765. The jail’s population in 2018 ballooned to some 600 inmates over capacity.
The jail’s crowded conditions came under fire last year in the wake of eight inmate deaths. A ninth died in May.
It also was singled out by Ohio’s jail inspectors and a U.S. Marshals report that detailed “inhumane” conditions for inmates, in part due to the overpopulation at the jail.
The crowded conditions in 2018 caused inmates to be sleeping on floors, including at least one pregnant woman.
County officials decided to send the inmates to other county jails, at Cuyahoga County’s expense, after an Aug. 6 opinion by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost that said county officials must send inmates to other counties if their jail is overpopulated.