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3 members of Cuyahoga County Council ask to end agreement to hold City of Cleveland inmates in county jail

Posted at 8:28 PM, Jun 29, 2024

Members of the Cuyahoga County Council sent a letter to the county prosecutor on Friday asking to void the deal to hold Cleveland inmates in the Cuyahoga County Jail.

Three members of the council, Sunny Simon, Michael Gallagher and Pernel Jones Jr., sent the letter.

The agreement to hold City of Cleveland inmates in the jail started when the county acquired the city jail and police headquarters. In the letter, those three council members said the agreement was meant to be mutually beneficial; however, they claim the city has "repeatedly and flagrantly failed to adhere to its contractual obligations."

You can read the full letter here.

The letter states the breach of agreement has created operational problems and has become a burden on county resources.

The county administration released the following statement on Monday, saying the letter does not reflect its position.

This letter does not reflect the County administration’s position. The 2017 agreement needs to be modified and the administration is currently engaged in a good faith discussion with the City of Cleveland to make changes we believe are critical to the long term success of our justice system."
Kelly Woodard, Director, Department of Communications

The City of Cleveland responded on Monday, saying at no point during negotiations was it suggested the city failed to fulfill its contractual obligations.

We are aware of the request made by Cuyahoga County Council to terminate the jail contract between the City of Cleveland and the county. Despite recent comments made by certain members of county council, the City has had several conversations with county officials to discuss the contract and amicably resolve their concerns. At no point during these discussions was it suggested that the City failed to fulfill its contractual obligations. We are waiting to receive the documentation required by the contract to substantiate these claims.

While the original agreement was negotiated under previous administrations, the City greatly values our partnership with the county and will continue to collaborate in good faith to come to an equitable resolution. There are questions that still need to be answered amid the progress being made with the new jail site and how it will impact the City of Cleveland and its residents.
Tyler Sinclair, Communications Strategist

Gallagher, who is the Cuyahoga County Council District 5 Representative and a signee of the letter, released a statement pointing out a disparity between Cleveland and other cities that use the jail.

The situation has been discussed for some time now (many years) with zero movement. It has become untenable to continue on this road. It must be noted that we have agreements with other city partners with full cooperation and mutual vision. The same, sadly, cannot be said of our jail endeavors with Cleveland. We, hopefully, can move forward in a positive manner with Cleveland in the future.

On Monday, a representative from the prosecutor's office said it received the letter and is reviewing it, offering no further comment.

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