A Host of Problems Through Mismanagement

After stripping court employees of their union representation in 2020, the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court & Detention Center has become a highly dangerous environment, both to its juvenile residents and staff.

Issues Reported at the Juvenile Court since 2020:

611 Recent Incidents of Violence

67% of incidents within the detention center over 18 months were characterized as incidents of violence.

611 incidents of violence were reported between Jan 1, 2020 & June 30, 2021. 

These incidents of violence involving juvenile residents included:

In the first 6 months of 2021, the court reported an 80% increase in violence directed at staff, with nearly half resulting in injury to staff. 

Limited staff has to control a large number of high-level juvenile offenders with over 90% of the youth having committed a felony one, felony two or awaiting turnover to the adult system.

Recent Violence at Cuyahoga Court Juvenile Court:

Teens being held go on the attack within the Detention Center on 12/11/2021.

Detention center worker held hostage during stand-off at Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center on 10/14/21.

Detention Center manager placed handcuffs around his hand (as makeshift brass knuckles) to punch a juvenile resident four to five times when staffing was down nearly 60%.

Inmates riot in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center while the center is short-staffed, causing $20,000 in damage to the juvenile center in August 2020, not including the cost of cleaning or replacing the carpet. One juvenile resident attempted to hang himself from the ceiling and another attempted to harm himself.

Unable to Maintain Adequate Staffing Levels

The Court has been unable to reach a full staffing level of 103 full-time Detention Officers.

During the last two years, 57 detention officers were reported as being hired, while 56 have left employment.

Of 91 job offers extended by the Court between August 2020 and July 2021, 48% of job offers fell through because of failed physicals, public records/references, failed blood alcohol and drug tests, criminal backgrounds, falsification or declined.

Chronic level of staffing vacancy has resulted in the Detention Center frequently being forced to operate without access to 20% of its allocated Detention Officers.

A chronic lack of adequate staffing leads to an increased use of mandated overtime to fill required staffing vacancies.

Management’s termination of the union contract included announcing that the court will no longer pay for CPR/first aid training.

Court administration also dismantled an innovative scheduling system designed to adequately staff the detention center, while providing adequate rest and time with family.

Increased Room Confinement of Youth

Lack of staffing causes an increased use of room confinement for the youth to help ensure safety. This forces children in the center to eat meals and do schoolwork in their cells. It also limits the amount of recreation time.

Extended room confinement often intensifies mental health concerns and contributes to resident behavioral volatility.

Credible sources claim that in addition to lacking access to basic hygiene (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 cells.

Sources also claim that often 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.

According to the administrative judge, the usage of room confinement is not permissible, and is not in compliance with the regulations within the Ohio Administrative Code.


Management Decisions Result in Court Paying Over $318,000 In Employee Grievance Settlements and Arbitration Decisions

The Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court was forced to pay out over $318,000 in grievance settlements and arbitration decisions between 2014-2020.

This figure does not include the likely substantial attorney’s fees/legal cost that the Court would have paid for each of the above cases.


This Continued Mismanagement Needs to Stop!
Please Sign Our Petition Today.

Sign Our Petition

Reduce the Danger at Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court!

It’s time for Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court to protect its juvenile residents as well as its staff. Tell Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court to return to the bargaining table with its workers and Cleveland’s Laborers Local 860.