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Hell On Earth: A Jail Operated By Demons That Compounds Evil (Cleveland, Ohio)

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Regional Director of Corrections Ken Mills & Warden Eric Ivey have masterfully created the perfect “Hell on Earth” at the Cuyahoga County Jail located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.  In their photos, their all smiles, but behind the scenes the reality for the thousands of inmates and hundreds of correction officers, an entirely different picture is painted. The two are in charge of most, if not all, of the implementations of policy and high level decision making that transpires within the jail.  Since the two have taken office, the jail has seen increases in inmate deaths, inmate on inmate assaults, inmate on staff assaults, inmate visits to outside hospitals and inmate suicides.  In addition to those profound and dramatic upticks, the two demons, Ken Mills & Eric Ivey have also disregarded thousands of grievances filed by correction officers, inmates and visitors to the jail.  The grievances come from correction officer concerns for safety of fellow correction officers, the safety of inmates, reports of spoiled food and moldy trays as well as grievances filed by inmates for bullying, extensive lockdowns, over crowding, inadequate airflow, inadequate dietary meals, black mold, bed bugs and so forth.

Most recently, Ken Mills was exposed for cronyism, contract-steering & abusing his position of power (see full article here). One that saw him investigated for pandering to NaphCare (a for profit private medical care company) and deliberately sabotaging the approved budget for inmate medical services that were to be provided by Metro Health.

This Scumbagged Exclusive sheds light on the additional inmates being housed at the Cuyahoga County Jail, their conditions and the safety and health protocols that are being intentionally disregarded, as well as the correction officers that have to work within an unsafe and understaffed facility.  All of which, is in an attempt to increase the overall operating budget by accruing local jurisdictional income for housing and providing care for local inmates, while at the same time, refusing to utilize the entirety of the budget for it’s approved purposes (staffing, medical, safety and otherwise).  With an end game that hopes to see an increase in payroll, with money left over to skim off the top, for various key players like Ken Mills, Eric Ivey and other high ranking officials through the increase in inmate population under the guise that their duties and responsibilities have now widened.

COBRA Says:  Sha’ll we begin?

Cuyahoga County Jail Overpopulation

Opened: 1977 (Jail One), 1994 (Jail Two)

  • Current Jail Capacity:  1,762 beds.
  • Current Jail Occupancy: 2,300 inmates.

The Cuyahoga County Jail has a current Bureau of Adult Detention rated capacity of 1,762 beds.  Currently, with the take over of Cleveland City Jail and taking fresh arrests the jail is now climbing to over 2,300 inmates.  There is nowhere to house the increased population other than on unit floors.

With the increased amount of inmates, safety concerns rise. The jail doesn’t have
enough clothing, bedding, cups and or spoons for the growing jail population. Inmates are
locked up more than ever before without cause via red-zone.  Tensions were already high with with incidents on staff and inmate on inmate assaults, this is sure to compound those effects.

Legal Liability

Officials may be found to be “deliberately indifferent” if they fail to address a known risk of serious harm, or even if they should have known of the risk. Ignorance is not a defense. Failure to protect inmates may result in liability. Usually court intervention takes the form of orders that restrict or direct jail practices. Sometimes the courts awards compensatory damages to make reparations to the plaintiffs. In more extreme situations, defendant agencies may be ordered to pay punitive damages. A U.S. Supreme Court decision held that punitive damages may even be assessed against individual defendants when indifference is demonstrated: A jury may be permitted to assess punitive damages in a § 1983 action when the defendant’s conduct involves reckless or callous indifference to the plaintiff’s federally protected rights. Smith v. Wade, 103 S.Ct. 1625 (1983).

The court held that the arrestee had a clearly established Fourteenth Amendment right to be protected from the known risks of suicide. Estate of Adbollahi v. County of Sacramento, 405 F.Supp.2d 1194 (E.D.Cal. 2005).

Plata v. Brown. In a landmark decision in May 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that overcrowding in California’s prisons resulted in cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Jail Statistics

hell on earth
Hell On Earth: The Cuyahoga County Jail

Since Kenneth Mills took over in 2015 with Eric Ivey by his side. Here are some key stats.

Average Daily Population:

  • 2015:  2050 inmates
  • 2016:  2179 inmates
  • 2018:  Climbing to 2,300 and rising

Inmate on Inmate Assaults:

  • 2015:  45 assaults
  • 2016:  496 assaults
  • 2018:  280 assaults to date, continuing to rise with inmates being unjustly locked down on a daily (redzone)

Use of Force:

  • 2015:  189 use of force situations
  • 2016:  324 use of force situations
  • 2018:  218 use of force situations so far (continues to rise).

Inmates to ER:

  • 2015:  385 emergency room visits
  • 2016:  423 emergency room visits
  • 2018:  222 emergency room visits (continues to rise).

Correction Officer Statement:  Kenneth Mills and Eric Ivey expect their leadership team to overwork the already short staff they have. Treat employees as if they were slaves. Increasing tasks daily in already a tough job. If you do not like it quit mentally. Opening other facilities yet leaving the downtown jail in ruins. If they were a principal for a school and lost the amount of teachers they due workers that willingly resigned then they would be fired. Head Nurse Gary Brack spoke up and you see by the recent articles what happened to him. FIRED!!!

Leaked Documents

Leaked grievances from both inmates and staff can be found below.  These were featured in another Scumbagged Exclusive which can be found by clicking here.

November 24th, 2017 – “The inmates in my pod, 10 G pod, have been complaining that no heat is coming out of the vents in the pod. As a officer its uncomfortable for me as well because the windows need caulking and the wind is blowing through the cell windows. I informed Corporal Keglovic and Officer Siomcka concerning this matter and Officer Siomcka informed me that he would notify the building engineer. I also did a maintenance report with central control and this matter still has not been addressed.”

November 27th, 2017 – “The last 9 months the inmates have been complaining about the smell of their trays and the way their food smells. They have shown me their trays with cracks in them leaking some type of liquid that smells like sewer water or feces. I notified Corporal Keglovic and I replaced the trays but this issue continues to happen and inmates in both jail 1 and jail 2 are starting to get sick from the condition of these trays. Other officers on other floors are having the same problem with the trays as well. Even though they haven’t placed it in writing, they have also notified management for months of this reoccurring issue.”  Document attached in gallery below.

December 14th, 2017 – “The fifth floor bullpen is grossly under manned. This is creating an unsafe work environment.” Document attached in gallery below.

February 5th, 2018 – “The current bargaining agreement between the employer and the O.P.B.A is explicit on the overtime issue and specifically states that an employee shall be required to work out in inverse order of seniority using a rotating list method – period – no exceptions! Nothing exempts females from working male posts, in a non gender specific jail – Nothing! Certainly not the CBA on overtime. Adhere to the C.B.A with forced overtime when staffing the jail! Seniority is the sole criteria, the CBA is final and binding and cannot be changed…”Document attached in gallery below.

February 7th, 2018 – “Gender based discrimination, specifically regarding forced overtime and post allocation.”  Document attached in gallery below.

Staffing Issues and Court Decisions

There shall be adequate correctional staff on duty to protect against assaults of all types by detainees upon other detainees. Ahrens v. Thomas, 434 F.Supp. 873 (D.Mo. 1977).

Lack of funds is not an excuse Federal courts have made it clear that lack of funds does not excuse violation of inmates’ constitutional rights: Humane considerations and constitutional requirements are not, in this day, to be measured or limited by dollar considerations… Jackson v. Bishop, 404 F.2d 571 580 (8th Cir.1968)

The court held that the inmate’s allegations stated a claim that prison officials failed to protect him from attacks by other inmates. The inmate alleged that an officer was not present when he was attacked even though inmates were not allowed in the chapel without supervision. Velez v. Johnson, 395 F.3d 732 (7th Cir. 2005).

The court held that the detainee had a clearly established Fourteenth Amendment right to be free from the officer’s deliberate indifference to an assault by another inmate.

Violation of the detainee’s constitutional rights was the result of the sheriff’s failure to provide adequate staffing and safe housing for suicidal inmates, and in light of the sheriff’s knowledge that inmate suicide was a problem, his failure to address any policies that were causing suicides constituted deliberate indifference to the constitutional
rights of inmates. 142 Smith v. Brevard County, 461 F.Supp.2d 1243 (M.D.Fla. 2006).

Inadequate staffing can create an objective risk of substantial harm in a prison that is sufficient to satisfy the objective prong of the deliberate indifference test. Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1251 (9th Cir.1982)

Having stripped [inmates] of virtually every means of self-protection and
foreclosed protection and foreclosed their access to outside aid, the government
and its officials are not free to let the state of nature take its course. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S at 833, (1970)

The nature of court involvement may even include the review of facility plans. In a New Mexico case, the court renewed its involvement when plans to reduce staffing were challenged by the plaintiffs. The court prevented the state from reducing staffing levels at several correctional facilities: ..defendants will be enjoined from…reducing the authorized or approved complement of security staff…unless the minimal staffing levels identified as being necessary to provide a constitutional level of safety and security for prisoners have been achieved.. The Court also will enjoin defendants to fill 140 existing vacancies and thus to employ at least the number of medical and mental health staff as well as the number of security staff authorized to be employed.. during Fiscal Year… Duran v. Anaya, 642 F.Supp. 510 (D.N.M. 1986).

Connecting Staffing Practices to Other Conditions In the New Mexico case, the court went on to draw links between staffing levels and other aspects of facility operations, ranging from overtime to inmate idleness:

Overtime “..security staff will be adversely affected by excessive overtime work as a result of the understaffing of the institutions subject to the Court’s orders in this litigation”

Out of Cell Opportunity “…In addition, prisoners will be required to remain in their housing units for longer periods of time, and inmate idleness will increase.” Idleness. “Prisoner idleness…will increase as a result of staff reductions…”

Programs and Activities. “There is a direct, inverse correlation between
the incidence of acts and threats of violence by and between inmates, on
the one hand, and the types and amounts of educational, recreational, work
and other programs available to inmates, on the other–i.e., acts and
threats of violence tend to decrease as program availability and activity
increase.”

Training. “Reduction in security staff positions will prevent…complying
with staff training requirements of the Court’s order…” The court noted
concerns by a security expert that the “security staff reductions that are
contemplated will result in a ‘scenario at this time…very similar to the
scenario that occurred prior to the 1980 disturbance’”, referring to the
deadly inmate riot at the New Mexico Penitentiary that claimed 33 inmate
lives and injured more than 100 inmates and 7 officers.

Staffing Levels:  The first Pulaski County case produced continuing federal court involvement with jail operations. When the county was brought back to court by inmates
in 1973, the county asked the court to consider their plans to build a new
jail. But the judge held that, while the plans are promising, current
conditions must be addressed: This Court can only deal with present
realities….The most serious and patent defects in the present operation
result directly from inadequate staffing. Hamilton v. Love, 358 F.Supp. 338
(D.Ark. 1973).

A federal district court judge linked Platte County (Missouri) Jail’s duty
to protect. While the constitution does not mandate such services, state
law, local ordinances, local policies and procedures, and even union
contracts, might create requirements for staffing levels or patterns. 3
Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F.2d 559 (10th Cir. 1980).

There shall be adequate correctional staff on duty to protect against
assaults of all types by detainees upon other detainees. Ahrens v. Thomas,
434 F.Supp. 873 (D.Mo. 1977).

In New Jersey, the federal district court required county officials to
obtain an independent, professional staffing analysis addressing security
staffing and training, classification, and inmate activities. The court set
expectations for the plan and ordered the county to implement the plan: The
staffing analysis shall review current authorized staffing, vacancies,
position descriptions, salaries, classification, and workload…[The county] must implement the plan… Essex County Jail Annex Inmates v. Treffinger, 18
F.Supp.2d 445 (D.N.J. 1998).

Liability Officials may be found to be “deliberately indifferent” if they
fail to address a known risk of serious harm, or even if they should have
known of the risk. Ignorance is not a defense. Failure to protect inmates
may result in liability. Usually court intervention takes the form of
orders that restrict or direct jail practices. Sometimes the courts award
compensatory damages to make reparations to the plaintiffs. In more extreme
situations, defendant agencies may be ordered to pay punitive damages. A
U.S. Supreme Court decision held that punitive damages may even be assessed
against individual defendants when indifference is demonstrated: A jury may
be permitted to assess punitive damages in a § 1983 action when the
defendant’s conduct involves reckless or callous indifference to the
plaintiff’s federally protected rights. Smith v. Wade, 103 S.Ct. 1625
(1983)

Court Intervention: Most court decisions produce changes in jail conditions,
including operations. Continuing court involvement might be prompted by a
consent agreement between the parties, or by failure of the defendants to
comply with court orders. The nature of court involvement may even include
the review of facility plans. In a New Mexico case, the court renewed its
involvement when plans to reduce staffing were challenged by the
plaintiffs. The court prevented the state from reducing staffing levels at
several correctional facilities: ..defendants will be enjoined
from…reducing the authorized or approved complement of security
staff…unless the minimal staffing levels identified as being necessary to
provide a constitutional level of safety and security for prisoners have
been achieved.. The Court also will enjoin defendants to fill 140 existing
vacancies and thus to employ at least the number of medical and mental
health staff as well as the number of security staff authorized to be
employed.. during Fiscal Year… Duran v. Anaya, 642 F.Supp. 510 (D.N.M.
1986).

Connecting Staffing Practices to Other Conditions: In the New Mexico case,
the court went on to draw links between staffing levels and other aspects
of facility operations, ranging from overtime to inmate idleness: Overtime
“..security staff will be adversely affected by excessive overtime work as
a result of the understaffing of the institutions subject to the Court’s
orders in this litigation” Out of Cell Opportunity “…In addition, prisoners
will be required to remain in their housing units for longer periods of
time, and inmate idleness will increase.” Idleness. “Prisoner idleness…will
increase as a result of staff reductions…” Programs and Activities.
“There is a direct, inverse correlation between the incidence of acts and
threats of violence by and between inmates, on the one hand, and the types
and amounts of educational, recreational, work and other programs available
to inmates, on the other–i.e., acts and threats of violence tend to
decrease as program availability and activity increase.” Training.
“Reduction in security staff positions will prevent…complying with staff
training requirements of the Court’s order…” The court noted concerns by a
security expert that the “security staff reductions that are contemplated
will result in a ‘scenario at this time…very similar to the scenario that
occurred prior to the 1980 disturbance’”, referring to the deadly inmate
riot at the New Mexico Penitentiary that claimed 33 inmate lives and
injured more than 100 inmates and 7 officers. Lack of funds is not an
excuse Federal courts have made it clear that lack of funds does not excuse
violation of inmates’ constitutional rights: Humane considerations and
constitutional requirements are not, in this day, to be measured or limited
by dollar considerations… Jackson v. Bishop, 404 F.2d 571 580 (8th
Cir.1968)

Courts may even restrict a jurisdiction’s discretion with regard to where
funds are found to make needed improvements. An appeals court held that it
may restrict the sources from which monies are to be paid or transferred in
order to protect the legal rights of those who 141 have been victims of
unconstitutional conduct.

In a 1977 decision, Supreme Court Justice Powell observed: …a federal
court’s order that a State pay un-appropriated funds to a locality would
raise the gravest constitutional issues… But here, in a finding no longer
subject to review, the State has been adjudged a participant in the
constitutional violations, and the State therefore may be ordered to
participate prospectively in a remedy otherwise appropriate. The
Indianapolis case (see Footnote 3) concluded: It is not the province of a
federal court to instruct the legislature on how it should finance its
obligations. The district court did not attempt to do so. The court did
what was within its authority–order a wrongdoer to pay the cost of
remedying its wrongdoing Recent Federal Cases Although the basic tenets of
federal court involvement with jail staffing and operations were forged
many years ago, the practice has not ended, as suggested in these more
recent cases: Cavalieri v. Shepard, 321 F.3d 616 (7th Cir. 2003).

The court noted that the detainee’s right to be free from deliberate
indifference to the risk that he would attempt suicide was clearly
established. Wever v. Lincoln County, Nebraska, 388 F.3d 601 (8th Cir.
2004).

The court held that the arrestee had a clearly established Fourteenth
Amendment right to be protected from the known risks of suicide. Estate of
Adbollahi v. County of Sacramento, 405 F.Supp.2d 1194 (E.D.Cal. 2005).

The court held that summary judgment was precluded by material issues of
fact as to whether the county knowingly established a policy of providing
an inadequate number of cell inspections and of falsifying logs showing
completion of cell inspections, creating a substantial risk of harm to
suicide-prone cell occupants. Hearns v. Terhune, 413 F.3d 1036 (9th Cir.
2005).

The court held that the detainee had a clearly established Fourteenth
Amendment right to be free from the officer’s deliberate indifference to an
assault by another inmate. United States v. Board of School Commissioners
of City of Indianapolis, 677 F.2d 1185 (7th Cir.1982).

The Bottom Line:  Lack of staff and overcrowding create a toxic mix for both staff and
inmates.  There is no doubt that there are glaring issues within the jail that
continue to not be addressed. Workers, inmates and visitors are all at
risk for the departments short comings. All high powered positions need to
go back to being elected not appointed to hold those accountable through
elections.

SCUMBAGGED Tip:  When will anyone at the Cuyahoga County Jail be investigated for their negligent behavior?  There are constant cries outpouring from both the correction officers and inmates. This simple process of allowing jail inspectors to come in (with advanced notice of those inspections) and view only select portions of the jail – portions that have been manipulated in advance to pass the inspection need to end.  When will people realize that evil breeds evil?  The compounding effect on the inmates and staff alike is creating a toxic environment within and one that will surely continue to wreak havoc once the inmates are set free back into society.  A tightly wound up ball ready to explode.  Common sense…

Related CCJ Articles By 3rd Parties: 

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