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County, city resist extending jail decree

Published: Sat, April 24, 2010 @ 12:08 a.m.




In federal-court filings, Mahoning County and the city of Youngstown have opposed a one-year extension of the consent decree that settled a class-action lawsuit by inmates concerning county-jail crowding.

Last week, lawyers for the inmates asked the federal court to extend the decree by one year because they said the county’s recession-induced budget crisis makes it likely that jail operations won’t meet constitutional standards.

The inmates’ lawyers, Robert Armbruster and Thomas Kelley of Akron, said federal-court supervision is necessary to prevent inmates from being housed under dangerous conditions.

The three-year consent decree, which was approved by a panel of three federal judges and is set to expire May 17, requires that the jail be fully open and staffed.

“Because there are no current and ongoing violations of a federal right that exist within the Mahoning County jail, there is simply no legal justification or support for the extension of the consent decree,” argued Gina DeGenova Bricker, an assistant county prosecutor.

Armbruster and Kelley said the county is in contempt of the decree because deputies have insufficient continuing education; staffing is short by at least 14 deputies; inmates don’t get outdoor recreation frequently enough; and jail building maintenance is inadequate.

But Bricker said in her Friday filing that county officials have either complied with the decree or taken “all reasonable steps within their power to so comply” within the limitations of the county budget. Bricker said minimum jail standards don’t require outdoor recreation.

“Terminating judicial oversight is an objective to be affirmatively strived for, not simply an event that should be welcomed if it happens to occur,” said Iris Torres Guglucello, city law director, and Anthony J. Farris, deputy city law director.

“The laws of the state of Ohio are the most effective way to prevent problems that could be caused by any potential lack of staffing,” according to the city’s filing.


1ziggypop(5 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I think that the citizens of the valley are tired of funding programs that refuse to be accountable for the dollars we give. The largest offender of our public trust is the Mahoning County Sherrifs dept.
(county jail) For years I have been saying that if there was a camera in the jail that the public could view, they'd shut it down.Well it took a little longer and some millions of dollars, but the end is near. Our economy is more depressed than most areas, and that pig in the blanket has reached the bottom of our pockets. It is time to give control to the state or put the day to day running of the jail up for private bids. You have milked us long enough "Johnny Lawless." I have been raised in Youngstown and have been ashamed of how the people of this city without question, kept financing Wellingtons ATM. If only the doughnut sucking losers who did nothing but sit in booking were let go,we might not have come to this point. Now it's time for deputy dog to join the ranks of the unemployed ,with the peole they have been robbing(oops protecting).

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