Summit County Jail set to address conditions, recommend improvements

AKRON, Ohio - A county jail in northeast Ohio is under a deadline to address conditions including overcrowding and declining staff.

As part of a court-approved agreement backed by the U.S. Justice Department, Summit County was directed to submit a report by Thursday on what it plans to do to upgrade jail conditions in Akron.

According to a draft report obtained by the Akron Beacon Journal, the jail has a lack of inmate programming, no recreation time, too many lockdowns and poor design.

A state inspection report earlier this year said the jail, with more than 600 inmates, is overcrowded and doesn't book inmates in a timely manner.

There was no immediate word from county officials or the legal team involved in a jail lawsuit on when the improvement report would be released.

The staffing review was part of a settlement of a discrimination lawsuit filed by female jail guards, according to the legal team that directed the litigation.

The women said they had been effectively demoted because jail officials didn't want them overseeing male inmates while the inmates showered or were strip searched. The federal government joined the lawsuit on behalf of the female guards.

The draft report contains more than 120 pages of analysis, recommendations and charts. Consultant Rod Miller of Community Resource Services in Gettysburg, Pa., noted that the jail operates with 43.9 fewer full-time supervisors, deputies and civilian workers than in 2009.

In 2009, there were 181 deputies working at the facility, but 161 today.

Jail overtime totaled $180,765 in 2011, according to the newspaper, and it climbed to $313,765 last year. Through Sept. 19 of this year, overtime reached $277,520.

Reduced staffing led to a rule that went into effect last week limiting clergy and attorney visits during certain hours.

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