A 36-year-old Cuyahoga County Jail inmate died Friday, according to a county official.
The circumstances surrounding his death were not made immediately available. His family has not yet been notified, Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan said.
The death marks the ninth time an inmate died in county custody since June. The inmate’s identity was not immediately released.
The man was booked into the jail about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on drug possession charges. He underwent all intake and medical screenings and was placed in the general population, Madigan said.
Jail staff moved him from general population about 11 a.m. Friday to a cluster of cells for veterans. Madigan said corrections officers found him unresponsive about 2:30 p.m.
Paramedics took him from the downtown jail at the Justice Center to MetroHealth, where he was pronounced dead, Madigan said.
The jail has come under intense scrutiny after the eight inmate deaths in 2018, a November U.S. Marshals report that detailed “inhumane” conditions at the jail and a criminal investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office into civil rights violations.
No more than two inmates died in the county jail in any single year in the 10 years prior to 2018.
The attorney general’s investigation has netted several indictments, including of the former jail director Ken Mills and former warden, now an associate warden, Eric Ivey, along with seven corrections officers accused of various crimes, including attacking inmates strapped to restraint chairs.
Ivey and former corrections officer Martin Devring are charged in connection with the Aug. 27 drug overdose death of Joseph Arquillo. Devring is accused of ignoring Arquillo as he lay dying on his cell floor.
Ivey is accused of ordering officers’ body cameras turned off during the investigation into Arquillo’s death in order to prevent the evidence from being used in an official proceeding, according to the indictment.
A federal grand jury has also subpoenaed records relating to the death of the eighth inmate, Brenden Kiekisz, who died Dec. 31 after hanging himself three days earlier in his cell.
MetroHealth officials, who at the time oversaw some of the medical operations at the jail, pleaded with top Cuyahoga County and jail officials, including Executive Armond Budish, for several changes to be made to jail protocol following the first seven deaths.
The pleas for change came about a month before Kiekisz died, but went ignored, according to emails obtained by Cleveland.com. The changes were made hours after Kiekisz was found hanging in his cell.
Of the eight deaths in 2018, four came from suicide, three from drug overdoses and one from cancer.
The first seven deaths prompted Budish to ask for the U.S. Marshals Service to perform an inspection on the jail. The report detailed conditions including inmates getting limited access to medical care, food being withheld as punishment and a host of other issues.