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Black Lives Matter Cleveland to Lead Rally Demanding an End to Relentlessly Inhumane Treatment of People Imprisoned in the County Jail




Black Lives Matter Clevelan leads a coalition in demand an end to lockdowns, sexual assault by COs against imprisoned people, and other dangerous and traumatizing conditions that community members continue to face inside Cuyahoga County Jail.


Event information:


Rally Demanding an End to Inhuman Treatment at the County Jail

Saturday August 14, 11am

Cuyahoga County Justice Center




CLEVELAND, OHIO, August 12th, 2021 This Saturday at 11am the Justice Center, Black Lives Matter leads a coalition in a rally to demand an end to the inhumane conditions at the jail, support for those victimized by staff, and an end to needless incarceration of our community members.

Over the past several weeks, local news has reported on the inhumane conditions, neglect, and assaults perpetrated by Justice Center staff against community members inside the Cuyahoga County Jail. These include long and ongoing lockdowns (called yellowzoning and redzoning by staff and officials), physical and sexual assault by COs, and neglect of basic needs such as showers, communications, and food. For these reasons, Black Lives Matter Cleveland is co-hosting a rally to issue demands, gather community testimony, and cement opposition to the jail’s mismanagement.

Why we rally

Community members locked inside the jail have recently been facing:


  • Physical and sexual assault by correctional officers

  • Lockdowns in cells up to 23 hours a day (called "redzoning" and "yellowzoning” by staff and officials)

  • Extremely limited access to basic needs like showers, phones, medications, and commissary

  • Excessive force, including use of chemical weapons in enclosed spaces

According to Justice Center leadership, the inhumane practice of “yellowzoning” and “redzoning” (which are jargon term for jail lockdowns) are responses to understaffing, and community leaders believe that hiring more jail staff would not solve the root causes of issues inside the jail.


“If [Cuyahoga County] can’t currently staff and maintain the [existing] jail, why should we consider paying taxpayers’ dollars to build a new jail?” said LaTonya Goldsby, president of Black Lives Matter Cleveland. The county is in the process of planning to build a $500 million new jail, but advocates such as Black Lives Matter argue that the money would be better spent to prevent violence before it happens by addressing the root causes.

It is a violation of one’s constitutional rights to withhold basic sanitary, dietary, and psychological needs from those incarcerated within the jail. Further, it is even more unacceptable that this type of cruel and unusual punishment is being inflicted upon community members while they remain in near total lockdown. According to an anonymous community member who was released from the jail within the last week, tensions within the jail are running high.

Goldsby adds, “It also speaks to the corruption and the conduct of the COs within the jail that creates a liability within itself, considering the charges that have been brought against COs within the county jail.” In the past few months alone, the news has reported Justice Center staff charges include kidnapping, rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, public indecency interfering with civil rights, dereliction of duty, and intimidation of a crime victim.

The Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition issued a statement, and ran a recent public education forum, on the disturbing situation of sexual assaults and lack of swift accountability for perpetrators: you can read the statement here.

Event information

The rally will be held Saturday, August 14th at 11 AM outside the county jail for a rally in solidarity with community members on the inside. The rally meets on Lakeside Avenue between West 3rd and Ontario. The coalition will be demanding that conditions improve immediately for these incarcerated community members.

Demands include:

  • end to yellow and red zoning and any other policies and techniques of long term lock down

  • daily, timely, complete, and equitable access to phones, video calls, showers, medications, and other human needs for everyone incarcerated

  • full, adequate food for all, including people with medical, ethical, and religious dietary restrictions

  • full and total end to use of chemical weapons within the Justice Center

  • full transparency on reports of sexual abuse in the jail, both past and future cases

  • minimum of 40 hours of annual training of jail staff on preventing sexual assault, as required by the consent decree

  • all Justice Center related assault cases be brought before a grand jury and that all jail staff comply with any requests for information that would help bring officers to justice

  • immediate, free, independent mental health counseling for the currently incarcerated survivors of sexual assaults and CO violence


What: Rally

When: Saturday, August 14th at 11:00 AM

Where: outside the Cuyahoga County Jail, on Lakeside Avenue between West 3rd and Ontario

For more information, the rally’s Facebook page is



Event coalition includes


About Black Lives Matter Cleveland (BLM Cleveland)

About Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition

About InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia (IRTF)

About Forest City Anarchists

About Ohio Poor People’s Campaign

 Cuyahoga County 

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