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January 15, 2019: Coalition Increases Pressure
After No Response from County Jail Officials

Coalition Increases Pressure After No Response from County Jail Officials


Our community members who are locked inside the Cuyahoga County Jail continue to experience horrifying and abusive conditions, while Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, County Council members, Sheriff Pinkney, and Judicial Officers remain complicit.


In the time since the Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition delivered the community’s demands to County Council Meeting on December 11th, another detainee has died in the jail. After what is now 8 deaths in the last 6 months and 55 suicide attempts in the last year inside the walls of the Cuyahoga County Jail, as well as a host of other disturbing human rights violations, and a complete lack of urgency towards this crisis, the Coalition’s campaign will ramp up its efforts.


Letters were hand delivered by activists at the January 8th action at the jail to all who have jurisdiction over the Cuyahoga County Jail: Armond Budish, 11 members of Cuyahoga County Council, Judge John Russo, Judge Michelle Earley, and Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, with the request of a report of improvements that they have made or will make to alleviate the inhumane conditions at all the jail facilities, and a timeline for which improvements will be made next, with a deadline of response by January 21st. At the time of this press release, no adequate response has been received. The lack of urgency around such inhumanity is truly unacceptable.


The Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail is calling all residents to join us at the following actions and rallies, to continue building power and momentum, putting pressure on County Executives to do the right thing. The first action will take place just prior to the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert at Severance Hall on January 20th at 5pm. The concert is host to local political, ministerial, business and community leaders and is an excellent opportunity to have our message heard by these leaders.


  • Sunday, January 20th at 5 pm at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave., to honor and uplift Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and vision of racial and economic justice.


MLK Jr. was a tireless advocate against the abuses of the criminal justice system, police brutality, poverty and racism. The Coalition is deeply disgusted and heartbroken by the SCLC announcement to award Armond Budish with the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at an awards ceremony on Friday, January 18th. Armond Budish holds the most responsibility for the inhumanity at the County jail, has overseen the death of 8 inmates, and runs a jail so inhumane the US Marshals service won't send offenders there! It is insulting to the victims of Budish and to their families to honor this man at this time.


The Coalition will host another rally and press conference outside the upcoming Cuyahoga Council meeting on Tuesday, January 22nd to share updates with the community on the work of the coalition and to continue demanding accountability from those who have jurisdiction over the County Jail. After the press conference and rally, we will walk peacefully into the County Council meeting and uplift our demands to the Council.


  • Tuesday, January 22nd at 5:30pm at Cuyahoga County Council Meeting at 9th & Prospect in downtown Cleveland.


“The longer they [Armond Budish, 11 members of Cuyahoga County Council, Judge John Russo, Judge Michelle Earley, and Sheriff Clifford Pinkney] delay their response to this crisis, the more of us who die, the more of us who lose their lives and sanity to the torture chamber that is the Cuyahoga County Jail,” said another community leader with the Coalition. “This should be declared a state of emergency with immediate action steps announced. Their lack of action communicates how little they value the lives of Cuyahoga residents.”


“We’re not going away,” said another leader with the Coalition, “and we’re not backing down. As long as torture and abuse are carried out in our names, we’ll be there to demand justice and accountability. Our coalition will also not accept building a new jail as an answer to this crisis. We must address policies and practices that cause overcrowding and a miscarriage of justice, such as bail reform. We will not give more money to a failed system. We demand action now.”


The Coalition has also demanded a meeting with Armond Budish, Judge John Russo, Judge Michelle Earley, and Sheriff Clifford Pinkney before the end of January.


The Coalition includes: Black Lives Matter Cleveland, Black on Black Crime, Inc., Carl Stokes Brigade, Cleveland Lead Safe Network, Cuyahoga Progressive Caucus (CCPC), Imperial Women Coalition, Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Student Association, Puncture the Silence-Stop Mass Incarceration, Refuse Fascism Cleveland, Showing Up for Racial Justice Northeast Ohio (SURJ NEO), Survivors/Victims of Tragedy, Inc., and the Tamir E. Rice Foundation.

Public Statements

The Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition is committed to decarceration and justice for all who have suffered within the county jail. To that end, we issue statements that call upon the community and its leaders to support justice and take a care-based course of action. 

 Cuyahoga County 

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