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Number of inmates drops dramatically in troubled Cuyahoga County Jail

Down by 600 inmates since last fall
Posted at 6:06 PM, Oct 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-09 18:42:46-04

CLEVELAND — New figures show the number of inmates inside Cuyahoga County's troubled jail has dropped dramatically since inspectors called conditions behind bars "inhumane" last fall.

As of Monday, county officials said the downtown jail housed 1,826 inmates. Last November's report by a U.S. Marshal's review team found 2,202 inmates at the jail.

The news came as both Cleveland Municipal Court and Cuyahoga Common Pleas court leaders were giving updates on bail reform efforts.

Municipal Court Judge Michelle Earley said the Court's new Pretrial Services Unit, which was formed last September, allowed Cleveland to cut its jail population in half.

Earley said the unit utilizes a variety of efforts including GPS monitoring, and court-supervised release aimed at making sure defendants show up for court, but don't remain locked up between appearances. She said risk assessments help determine who should be released.

"The rate of people who are picking up additional offenses is 8%, so it's a very low percentage," said Earley, "so we're not risking or jeopardizing the safety of the community by putting people in the community who shouldn't be in the community."

Common pleas court is also working on a pilot Pretrial Services Program, including a plan to send text messages to defendants reminding them of upcoming court appearances.

Last year the court issued 3,599 warrants for failure to appear.

"Our hope and our expectations would be far less arrest warrants will be issued for people because of these reminders," said Court Administrator Greg Popovich.

While the number of inmates has dropped dramatically in the last 11 months, the jail still exceeds its capacity of 1,765 inmates.

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