As Northeast Ohio prepares to greet thousands of visitors for the RNC, Cleveland-area jails are also preparing to house large groups of people in the event of mass arrests.
While the 2012 RNC in Tampa had few arrests, previous conventions including the 2008 convention in St. Paul, Minnesota and the 2008 convention in New York City led to hundreds of arrests.
The Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild tells newsnet5.com that several county jails, smaller suburban jails and rehabilitation centers have been tapped to house possible arrestees.
newsnet5.com confirmed arrangements with the Cuyahoga County, Geauga County and Summit County jails to provide beds for alleged offenders during the RNC.
Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry told newsnet5.com that he’s mainly concerned with visitors harassing delegates and other RNC participants at area hotels.
“If there’s a potential for violence, we have a place for those offenders,” Barry said.
The 48-bed unit was closed in January 2015 due to budget cuts.
Barry said the $50-million dollar safety grant awarded to Cleveland by the federal government will help cover those costs.
“We’re hoping for the best but planning for the worst just in case,” he said.
Meanwhile the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will have legal observers in the event zone to document interactions with police.
They will also be handing out cards with the jail support hotline number, in addition to writing that number on demonstrators’ arms in the event that they are arrested and their phones are confiscated.
“Hopefully this means that it will be a smooth process with no one getting lost in the system,” said Jocelyn Rosnick, Co-Coordinator of the Ohio Chapter of the NLG.
Police will be following a mass arrest protocol that emphasizes the speedy processing of arrestees.