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Cuyahoga County Jail

1215 West 3rd Street
Cleveland, OH 44113-1582
Phone: (216) 443-6000

Interview with CC, Kurt, Kimberly, Karen, Ben, John, Ashley and Michelle

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
CC: 60 days at the workhouse, 5 days in lake county, probation for cleveland
Kurt: 3 1/2 months
Kimberly: My actual sentance was for 6 months of treatment. Before that I spent 14 days in Cuyahoga before the arraignment. I thought I was only going to be in there for one day.
Karen: time served
Ben: 2years paper
John: Five to Twenty five years
Ashley: I was looking at 14months
Michelle: It was about an hour they gave me 4 years

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
CC: yes, filthy, no air ventilation, fecal matter, etc
Kurt: Yes. There are two terrible holding cells at the courthouse. One downstairs that's around 10x10 and had around 25 people in it. The one upstairs was 5x5 and had around 3 people. All told, I spent around nine hours in the cells. It was just a box with a bench, a toilet and sink and that was it.
Kimberly: While you're waiting for your trial to begin, you're put into a holding cell. It was really small and really dirty. I was there for about 3 hours.
Karen: no
Ben: Yes I spent time in a holding cell to describe I would have to say its like putting cattle into a small box you have about 10 guys in a room made for 5 its hard to breath and stinks.
John: For a small amount of time I was in holding cell. I was working in kitchen until sentenced The I went to a regular pod. At this time My memorywas kind of blank shocked
Ashley: I was in a holding cell it was cold and damp and lonely , like I was waiting for death to come , the ax to come down on my neck
Michelle: Yes they put me in the very small holding cell I felt like it was the end of the world I wouldn't see my family for 4 years which felt like a life time I felt like a mouse in a trap couldn't get out

Life On The Inside
While you expect most detention facilities to be located on a sprawling complex outside of a town, the Cuyahoga County Jail is actually situated in downtown Cleveland and is made up of two high rise jail towers that are connected with a pedestrian bridge on the fourth floor.

The type of inmates housed at this facility fall into seven various categories. These are: Pretrial Felons to Sentenced Misdemeanants; Juveniles to Adults; County, State and Federal jurisdictions.

A pretrial inmate could find themselves staying for an average of 32 days while a sentence offender will be there for around 130 days. The average daily population is counted out to around 1850. Considering that the jail was designed to only hold 1749, you can see that overcrowding is an issue.

Layout Of The Jail
On each floor of the Cuyahoga County Jail are four separate pod living areas. Each of the floors has their own indoor recreational basketball court and open area for inmates to socialize in.

There is a television on each floor but according to a former inmate, whoever was there the longest usually gets control of the remote. Inmates can play cards if they provide their own deck. For exercise they are relegated to walking the parameters of their pods or playing basketball. There is no such thing as outdoor time at this facility.

To maintain this facility, it costs around $40 million dollars annually. On that budget are the funds to make 6,000 meals a day with an average cost of around .70 cents a meal. Inmates can branch out from the provided meals and buy snacks for themselves twice a week at the facility's commissary.

Good Behavior Policy
Any inmate who stays out of trouble can receive up to 30% off their jail time. There is additional jail time available for maintaining minimum security status. This can result in three additional days off per month. In order to receive this good behavior time and inmate needs to stay out of trouble. Even getting written up for a minor infraction can still jeopardize that good time.

Visitor and Phone Policy
Inmates are given access to telephones during the day. These are for collect calls only. No inmate can receive a call. As for visiting an inmate, you will have to be registered in advance. You can only schedule one visit per visitation day. Upon arrival at the jail, you'll have to present a valid driver's license. Visits are by appointment only are and need to be set up at least 24 hours in advance.

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