Troubled Ohio jail names new interim director

Chief Deputy George Taylor will take over as the interim director of the Cuyahoga County jail, where six inmates have died over four months


By Courtney Astolfi
Advance Ohio Media

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cuyahoga County officials on Monday named Chief Deputy George Taylor as the interim director of the troubled jail, where six inmates have died over four months.

Taylor replaces Jail Director Ken Mills, who abruptly resigned last week ahead of an expected report by the U.S. Marshals Service about how the jail is run. The report was sought by County Executive Armond Budish because of the inmate deaths.

Chief Deputy George Taylor will take over as the interim director of the Cuyahoga County jail. (CCSD)
Chief Deputy George Taylor will take over as the interim director of the Cuyahoga County jail. (CCSD)

Unlike his predecessor, Taylor has a history of working in corrections, and years of experience in the criminal justice system. He will make $125,000 a year, up from the $119,600 he made as chief deputy.

Taylor joined the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department in April 2016 after serving a year as the director of public safety and justice services. In that position, he oversaw emergency management, emergency communications, services for witnesses and victims, among other duties.

Prior to his employment with the county, Taylor had a career with the Toledo police department, where he was assigned to several areas of command related to investigations, internal affairs and other duties. When he retired from Toledo, he became assistant chief of Westerville police.

Taylor’s history also includes more than three years in corrections. He was a corrections officer in Lucas County and worked on a medical floor with a focus on mental health.

Mills had no corrections experience prior to being hired by Budish in 2014 to oversee the county’s jails. A county spokeswoman refused to say why Mills resigned.

The change in jail leadership comes as the U.S. Marshals Service completes its jail review and as the FBI is looking into possible civil rights violations at the jail.

Six inmates died from June 22 to Oct. 2, including three by suicide.

The sixth death prompted Cleveland Municipal Judge Michael Nelson to announce that he would no longer send non-violent offenders to jail because it was unsafe.

And earlier this month, all 34 Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judges issued a letter that accused Budish’s jail administration of being indifferent to dangerous conditions at the jail.

The letter, written by Administrative Judge John J. Russo, said the judges can no longer rely on the word of jail administrators, who have promised that changes are being made to improve conditions at the jail.

The same day, the five Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judges who oversee the county’s mental-health docket wrote a letter to MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros alerting him to jail inmates’ failing to receive proper mental health care and medication. MetroHealth oversees most healthcare in the jail, while the county employs jail nurses.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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