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The new sentencing law allowing Ohio judges to sentence fourth and fifth degree felony offenders to prison,could impact local jail populations. Greg Macko Corrections Chief for the Summit County Jail tells AkronNewsNow..
" The jail, especially through the summer months is always at maximum or even over maximum, and we try to keep it down so any time any sentencing guidelines come up to where more people can be sentenced into the county jail it's a concern. It's just going to put more people into the jail when we really dont have room for anybody," says Macko.
Macko is a former Barberton Muncipal Court judge and says Summit County judges are well aware of the jail capacity problem. " It would depend upon how much the judges use it, and start sentencing to the jail. I know the judges have the same concern, they're on the same page with us, when it comes to overcrowding at the jail."
He hopes the jail won't become overcrowded again with an increase in low level felony sentences.
Ohio judges can now sentence those who commit fourth and fifth degree felonies, the lowest felony levels, to prison for a first time offense in more cases. The new Ohio bill went into effect on March 22.
In September 2010, Senate Bill 86 limited the ability of judges to send many first-time felons to prison for committing fourth and fifth degree felonies. Those typically include drug possession, various thefts, and some assaults.
The U.S. Department of Justice is closing the books on a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by Summit County sheriff's deputies, by accepting a consent decree.
Summit County Council agreed to pay the affected female deputies $400,000, and has agreed to ensure job assignment won't be linked to gender.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLES SEX DISCRIMINATION SUIT AGAINST SUMMIT COUNTY, OHIO
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it has entered into a consent decree with Summit County, Ohio, and related parties, which if approved by the court, will resolve a sex discrimination lawsuit in which the United States intervened in June 2012.
The United States joined a lawsuit brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by 21 female deputy sheriffs at the Summit County Jail who claimed they were subjected to discrimination due to a sex-segregated job assignment system implemented at the jail in January 2012. The United States’ complaint in intervention alleged that this system discriminated against female deputies because of their sex and constituted a pattern or practice of sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As a result of this discriminatory practice, the United States alleged female deputies lost the job assignments and shifts they had earned based on their seniority as well as opportunities to bid on overtime postings.
“Bringing an end to practices in the law enforcement community that discriminate against women is a major priority of the Justice Department and the Civil Rights Division. Practices that facially discriminate on the basis of sex that cannot be justified under the law, like the job assignment system used by Summit County, present a major hurdle to workplace equality that the Justice Department will not ignore,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division.
In July 2012, shortly after the United States joined the lawsuit, Summit County abandoned its sex-segregated job assignment system. Under the terms of the consent decree, Summit County has agreed to take several steps to ensure that any job assignment system implemented at the Summit County Jail will comply with Title VII and only use sex-based assignments, if at all, to the limited extent that they are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the jail. To make this determination, the county will conduct a staffing analysis and develop a lawful staffing plan, which it will review regularly during the life of the decree. The county will also provide training on sex discrimination as well as engage in recruitment efforts to encourage qualified female applicants to apply for deputy positions. Finally, the county will pay $400,000 in individual monetary relief to the affected female deputies and to cover their attorney fees.
“This agreement ensures that female deputies at the Summit County Jail will have the opportunity to do the same jobs as their male counterparts,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “We will continue to press for equality for women in the workplace.”
This is the first pattern or practice lawsuit brought by the Justice Department as a result of a joint project with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) designed to ensure vigorous enforcement of Title VII against state and local governmental employers by enhancing cooperation between the EEOC and the Civil Rights Division. Enforcement of federal employment discrimination laws is a top priority for the Justice Department with this case being handled by attorneys assigned to both the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
“Our partnership with Department of Justice allows for the strategic investigation and efficient resolution of discrimination claims in the public sector,” said EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis Jr., of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office. The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, national origin or religion, and prohibits retaliation against an employee who opposes an unlawful employment practice, or because the employee has made a charge or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the act. More information about Title VII and other federal employment laws is available on the Department of Justice website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp/index.html.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.
A suspect has been arrested in connection with the North Hill Shooting.
In late January, Wylene Edwards, 59, was traveling in her car on Elma Avenue when she saw two men walking in the roadway.
Edwards Flashed her headlights at the two people to warn that she was behind them. The suspects then walked off to the side of the road so she could pass.
After Edwards drove past the males, one of them fired several shots at the car striking Edwards in the upper shoulder and the back.
William B. Dawson, 21, of Cuyahoga Street in Akron has been arrested on charges of felonious assault and participating in a criminal gang.
Dawson was identified by physical evidence from the shooting and is already in the Summit County Jail on unrelated charges.
Akron Police have arrested a suspect in connection with a hit-skip accident in which the driver allegedly struck a five-year old boy, apologized to the victim, and then drove away last week.
Officers from the Akron Police Department Traffic Bureau arrested Shaune P. Chesney, 48, of Westgay Avenue in Akron on a felony charge of hit skip, and driving under a suspended license.
On the afternoon of March 15th, Chesney allegedly struck the boy while the child was crossing Goodhue Avenue. Chesney reportedly stopped momentarily, asked the boy if he was alright, and then fled the scene. The five year old was transported to Akron Children’s Hospital by family where he was treated for a broken leg.
Chesney and he was stopped on West Market and Pershing Avenue Thursday afternoon, taken into custody and booked into the Summit County Jail.
Chesney is scheduled for an arraignment hearing in Akron Municipal Court this morning, March 22, 2013 at 9:00 am.
Authorities say an inmate at the Summit County Jail attempted to commit suicide Sunday afternoon.
An inmate found Edward Kline hanging by a uniform shirt in his cell around 5 p.m., according to the Summit County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies removed the shirt from his neck and transported Kline to Akron General Hospital for treatment.
Kline was booked into the jail for receiving stolen property on June 12, 2012 .
Authorities said Kline showed no signs of being suicidal when he was medically screened by the jail staff.
The incident remains under investigation.
Akron Police detectives are investigating the death of a toddler in Akron.
The Beacon Journal reports the body of 17-month old Patrick Lerch was found unresponsive Sunday night.
Police discovered a meth lab at the home where he was found in the 500 block of Saint Ledger Avenue in the Goodyear Heights neighborhood.
The toddler's mother, Heather M. Lerch, 20, was arrested along with three other men Monday.
She was arrested on charges of illegal manufacture of drugs, illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, endangering children, among other charges.
She's being held in the Summit County Jail.
The other suspects Ronald S. Legg, 22; Randy L. Legg, 19; Allen R. Kostra, 24, are all facing similar charges. Police say the three men lived at the home with Heather Lerch.
An autopsy was conducted by the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office on Monday and results are pending.
Patrick Gillespie, spokesperson for the medical examiner's office, told the Beacon that Lerch was found in his crib when officers arrived.
The child was taken to Akron Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:17 p.m.
On the web: www.Ohio.com
Violent mentally ill criminals or suspects are no longer welcome at the Summit County Jail.
That's the word from Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander, who has been saying for years that the jail is staffed with jailers, not mental health practitioners. The sheriff says it's not because they don't want to deal with mentally ill patients - they aren't trained or equipped to do the job.
The new policy doesn't include all prisoners with mental issues, just those who show signs of violence when they're being booked.
"We bring in somebody who is severely mentally ill and then we put them in four-point restraints and put them into a cell by themselves," said Alexander. "It's barbaric. It's 13th century mentality."
Alexander says prisoners who fit into the category will be forced into mental health facilities where they can get treatment.
There have been problems at the Summit County Jail, namely the case of Mark McCullaugh, Jr., who died while in deputies' custody at the jail. Five deputies were charged criminally, but those charges were eventually dropped. The sheriff says it's the ultimate example to support his case.
"A person like Mark McCullaugh shouldn't have been in jail," said Alexander.
Alexander says there are 36 cells in the mental health pod at the jail. He says there are 130 prisoners using psychotropic drugs.
Sheriff's deputies in Summit County are investigating a suicide at the county jail.
Sheriff's Inspector Bill Holland says the male inmate, 29, from Akron was found early this morning hanging in his cell. Holland says deputies cut down the inmate and called for help, but he was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short time later.
"We're going to continue to investigate the incident, but it doesn't appear to be foul play at this point," said Holland.
The man had been in jail for about two months on drug charges and other counts. Holland says the prisoner showed no suicidal tendencies.
There was at least one suicide at the Summit County Jail last year as well as at least one attempted suicide.
"These inmates a lot of time are sitting in their cells and thinking of ways to do this if they really are serious about committing suicide," said Holland.
Holland says there are typically about 600 inmates at the jail.
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