In The Press

Advocates say juvenile justice center is one of the most dangerous places in Cleveland

Cleveland 19 News


Brutal beatings, insufficient access to bathrooms and missed schooling– all problems that lead some to believe the county is turning a blind eye to the conditions at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center.

Meryl Johnson, a retired teacher with 40 years of teaching experience in the Cleveland Public Schools, spoke in front of the Cleveland City Council on Monday night. She said she talked to both a former juvenile inmate and corrections officers on the inside.

“He said we are severely understaffed we don’t have the staffing to keep the kids safe. Another detention officer said a resident was so badly beaten that he was throwing up for three days straight and was finally diagnosed with concussion,” Johnson said. “If there’s a call for an alert there’s not enough staff to respond a kid can take a beating with no one to assist.”

Investigation Ongoing After Detention Center Manager Fired: I-Team


“The FOX 8 I-Team has found a local detention center manager fired in the midst of an investigation into explicit photos on an electronic device at the juvenile lock-up. This comes to light after the I-Team found the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department is investigating photos of an “underage, unidentified female.” Records released by Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court show Jerome Watkins terminated from the county detention center. The termination letter is dated March 23. The county says the investigation is ongoing and officials have not said how the photos ended up on the device, who the female is or the circumstances involved.”


Forced fights, explicit photos: More detention center trouble, I-Team reports


“The FOX 8 I-Team has found a worker fired at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center after being accused of staging fights between inmates. This comes after the I-Team has revealed multiple large outbreaks of violence there in recent months. Records provided by juvenile court show detention officer Trent Dunning was fired last month. His termination letter says “you are unable to function within the rules of the juvenile court’s employee handbook.” Incident reports provided by the court show Dunning was accused of “staging fights” between juveniles. And, he “forced multiple youth to fight.”

Absolute havoc: Another riot breaks out at Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center


“The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered exclusive video of yet another riot breaking out inside the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center. The latest incident is one of many, with the I-Team exposing big trouble there again and again. Security video shows, in the new case, a teacher walk through a door into a room and young inmates follow. Then, violence explodes. Those kids walking in fight with other inmates.”

More chaos erupts as teen inmates go wild inside Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center


“The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained video showing teens going wild behind bars. It’s just the latest outbreak of violence inside the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center. The latest trouble happened last weekend, and it marks at least the fourth recent violent incident there caught on camera. The video shows chaos as teens go on the attack. Young inmates rush in and jump other inmates. All of the kids were being held in the lock-up facing charges in crimes on the streets.”

Juvenile Court has only itself to blame for ending union contract on safe, stable staffing.


“The indifference of elected judges and incompetence of appointed management drove the facility into a Dickensian state. The first step towards improving conditions is to respect the workers doing the job and reinstate the contract.”

Worker held hostage during stand-off at Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center


“The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained video showing how a stand-off broke out inside a local juvenile detention center with a teen inmate holding a worker hostage.

Colin Sikon, union leader with Local 860, says the detention center has become a more dangerous place with more violent teens, chronic short-staffing of guards and not nearly enough detention officers.”

Detained youth in Cuyahoga County face unacceptably harsh conditions.


“In addition to lacking access to basic hygiene – like soap, clean laundry, and sanitized living spaces – youth are forced to wear soiled underwear and be shackled to use the bathroom. Those who refuse to be shackled are given bags to relieve themselves in their cell. They often go to bed hungry and wake up famished. There aren’t enough staff to transport youth throughout the facility. Thus, meals are delayed, youth eat alone in their cells, daily exercise and in-person school is denied, and rehabilitative programming and family contact is nonexistent. This “lockdown” is the facility’s response to understaffing, which court officials have publicly acknowledged as a crisis.”

Video shows incident that placed Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center manager on leave.


“The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered video showing more chaos with new trouble inside the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center. Security video from the latest incident shows why a detention center manager has been placed on leave and is now facing both internal and criminal investigations. During that, a manager throws punches. A report indicates the manager, “placed handcuffs around his hand as makeshift brass knuckles and punched him four to five times.” A sheriff’s report revealed that trouble broke out on a night with the detention center incredibly short-staffed. That report revealed just nine detention officers were working when full staff would be 22.”

Judge cites staffing ‘crisis’ in asking for raises for Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center officers.


“Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court’s administrative judge asked county officials to raise the salaries of detention center officers, citing a staffing “crisis” at the juvenile lockup that could lead to a “catastrophe.” Judge Thomas O’Malley’s Aug. 24 letter to Cuyahoga County Public Safety Chief Robert Coury outlines a host of issues at the detention center, including that a lack of staffing has led to an increase in juveniles being held in isolation and violence inside the facility.”

Inmates Rampage in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center Causing $20,000 in Damage


“This happened just hours before inmates also went on a rampage in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center. The county said three teens were involved in that, but they caused $20,000 worth of damage to the juvenile lockup. We should be able to show you what happened inside the detention center as the teens went wild, but a month after the incident, the county says it has no security video. The I-Team asked why, but no one at the county seems to know.”

Riot at Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center happened while center was short-staffed, records say


“The riot at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center on Saturday happened while the juvenile lockup was short-staffed, according to records released by the juvenile court on Tuesday. The low-staffing levels resulted in corrections officers locking 30 inmates in that part of the detention center in their cells for long periods.”

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