CLEVELAND — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine approved a plan that will send staff from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) and the Ohio Military Reserve to assist with staffing shortages at the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center (CCCC).
DeWine announced the approved plan Thursday after Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish asked for assistance at the jail because of staffing shortages caused by a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“I am pleased that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Ohio Military Reserve will be able to help alleviate some of the challenges and help the jail to continue to provide a safe environment for both staff and those who are housed at the facility," DeWine said.
A letter from the ODRC said approximately 56 corrections staff are off work due to COVID-19. Additionally, there are 147 incarcerated individuals who have recently tested positive for COVID-19.
The plan includes 30-day assistance from 25 members of the Ohio Military Reserve, which has trained units in disaster relief, medical support, volunteer reception and management, shelter management and logistics support in addition to basic soldier skills.
The 30-day assistance will begin on Dec. 28.
DeWine said interventions to be put in place by the CCCC include:
- COVID-19 guidance for correctional and detention facilities issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health must be rigorously implemented at CCCC.
- All staff posts must be reviewed for immediate need. Any posts that are not essential and those posts that do not directly contribute to the security and safety of the facility must be temporarily closed.
- Expedite the on-boarding of staff who are in the hiring queue.
- Reduce all in-person visiting, to include attorney visits, to only those visits deemed absolutely necessary.
- Cuyahoga County officials must work collaboratively with court and probation personnel to discuss the violation process for those individuals who are on court-ordered supervision as well as open warrants. Priority should be placed on those individuals who are a threat to public safety.
External assistance being provided:
- The ODRC Bureau of Adult Detention will provide ongoing technical assistance.
- The ODRC will offer overtime opportunities to qualified ODRC staff members who wish to volunteer to work posts at CCCC.
- The Ohio Department of Administrative Services / Office of Collective Bargaining will work collaboratively with Cuyahoga County officials on identifying efficiencies in the provisions of the applicable labor agreements and will also provide technical assistance as needed.
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