Two Suspected Overdoses, Four Assaults on Officers in Last Week at Cuyahoga County Jail

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Two inmates were treated for suspected drug overdoses at the Cuyahoga County jail over the weekend, a county spokesperson confirmed yesterday, and investigations are underway on four assaults on corrections officers in the past week.

Such safety concerns are not a surprise to officers working in the facility, which has of late been the subject of a variety of troubling headlines. Two officers have spoken out publicly on Facebook about a variety of issues including understaffing (one officer supervising two pods/96 inmates at a time) and faulty doors in Jail II that inmates can unlock with spoons or magazines. Despite protestations from the county that those doors have been fixed, officers have filed grievances in recent weeks through their union arguing that the doors in fact have not been fixed and citing as evidence multiple incidents in which inmates have unlocked their doors during lockdown since December.

Further evidence that the officers are right and the county is full of it: An inmate popped a cell door last night in the 7A pod of Jail II.

Assistant warden Eric Ivey is well aware of that. He was at the facility yesterday evening and has taken to working a second-shift night schedule due to the recent string of safety and staffing incidents, a county spokesperson confirmed to Scene yesterday, though the county did add that Ivey typically works more than 40 hours a week and maintains a flexible schedule.

Still, the fact that safety issues and violent assaults have led  him to alter his schedule to be present in the evening, weeks after jail officials instituted a policy of assigning SRT (Special Response Team) officers to floors in the troubled Jail II facility, indicates the severity of the problem.

The union also recently filed a grievance suggesting that the general public — school tours, grand jury visits, social workers — should not be allowed in the facility given recent safety issues.

We'd relish the opportunity to ask Warden Ivey about that and other things happening in his jail but a county spokesperson declined, after repeated requests by Scene, to make Ivey or Associate Warden Victor McArthur available for an interview.

For his part, the county's director of regional corrections Ken Mills will be doing an interview with Fox 8's Ed Gallek today. We also have a request in to speak with him. Someone, after all, should answer questions at this point, and that should probably be someone in charge of the jail, not a spokesperson sitting in an office at county headquarters.


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