Grand jury says it's 'appalled' by crowding of women in jail

WARREN -- A recent tour of the Trumbull County Jail by members of a county grand jury led to the observation that the area for women was overcrowded.
In her Oct. 9 report, the grand jury foreman, Elisabeth A. Wilson, wrote that grand jurors were "appalled and disappointed" by what they saw.
After describing all of the high-tech features of the jail and positive aspects, Wilson wrote: "However, the reality of an overcrowded prison shocked every juror when we entered the female floor.
"Many inmates were secured in their adequate cells, while more than 20 women lay around the pod on mattresses. It truly appeared to be a disaster waiting to happen," she wrote.
Chief Deputy Ernie Cook said that this is the first time a grand jury has noted overcrowding in the female section of the jail but that he is not surprised by the observation.
"I tend to agree with them," he said.
Cook said the reason for the women to be are on cots is that the female population, which is confined to one section of the jail, "is just ballooning all over the country. It's the worst it's been." He said drug activity appears to be one of the major causes.
Cook said if the problem continues, it might be necessary to send female inmates to other facilities, which costs 65 per day.
Overall, Cook said the jail population is running at around 300 to 320 inmates. Its capacity is 286, but the jail was determined to be in 100 percent compliance the last time it was inspected by the Ohio Department of Adult Detention a couple of months ago -- including the cots used for the women.

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