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Cuyahoga County Jail Receives Top National Jail Accreditation

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Media contact(s):
Dorsena Drakeford, MetroHealth: (216) 598-9908; ddrakeford@metrohealth.org
Mary Louise Madigan: (216) 698-2521; mlmadigan@cuyahogacounty.us 


CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH — The Cuyahoga County Corrections Center has received accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), the highest standard in the field.

“This elite accreditation – one that only a small percentage of jails and prisons obtain – comes from an independent organization that is the national leader in correctional health care. They are experts in the fields of health care and corrections who conduct a third-party objective assessment of facilities throughout the country. This recognition is a direct result of the hard work and concerted commitment that the county, MetroHealth, and other partners have made over the last several years to improve operations, procedures, staffing, and services in the both the jail and accompanying criminal justice programs,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “Significant time, money, and resources have been devoted to these improvement efforts – all of which have dramatically enhanced health care options for these members of our community.”

“This is a huge accomplishment by our care team and our organization,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD. “We have worked collaboratively with Cuyahoga County leadership to dramatically improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable members of our community by providing excellent, compassionate, and respectful care.”

To receive this accreditation, the county had to demonstrate full compliance in all 38 of the relevant essential standards and at least 17 of the 19 relevant important standards. Essential standards include access to care, medical autonomy, monitoring of suicidal ideation and withdrawal, regular administrative meetings and reports, and a continuous quality improvement program, among others.

“This accreditation is a testament to the hard work by our care team working at the jail,” said Julia Bruner, MD, Senior Vice President for Behavioral Health and Correctional Medicine. “Through COVID and other challenges, we worked collaboratively with county leadership, jail staff and others to provide compassionate, quality care for our patients at the jail.”

The patient population at the jail typically has much greater health needs than the broader community. Inmates there have higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and other diseases, as well as substance use disorder.

Since 2019, Cuyahoga County and its medical partners at MetroHealth have transformed the delivery of care at the jail to ensure these patients receive the right care when they need it.

  • The MetroHealth team at the jail conducts more than 1,000 primary care and sick visits each month. Clinical volume has increased by more than 80% since May 2019 when MetroHealth assumed operations.
  • MetroHealth’s caregivers ensure medical needs – especially mental health and substance abuse concerns – are addressed in a timely manner. About 70% of the jail population is diagnosed with some form of mental illness. The medical staff at the jail is one of the largest inpatient mental health providers in the state.
  • Every patient is evaluated by a MetroHealth caregiver upon booking to identify any potential medical, behavioral health or substance use concerns.
  • An on-site pharmacy is available seven days a week, with a team managing medications for as many as 1,400 patients daily.

“To further support the health care provided in the jail, the county has also made many other improvements,” said Budish. “These have included:

  • Steadfast recruitment campaign for corrections officers that have resulted in dozens of new hires – raised salary to $24.48/hour; synthesized the hiring process and have held seven specialized hiring events where candidates apply, receive a background check, interview, and potential offer all in one day; and placed advertisements in public transportation, entertainment venues, traditional media channels, and on social media.
  • Numerous measures taken to mitigate the impact of pandemic in the County Jail – reduced the population to a record-low at the onset of the pandemic by conducting special plea and bond hearings; updated intake procedures and maneuvered facility space to test and isolate inmates as needed; requested State assistance during heightened waves that infected a large portion of staff; increased vaccination supply as soon as it was available.
  • Opened the county’s new Diversion Center, which has served over 550 clients to date – provides individuals suffering from substance-use disorders and/or serious mental illness with various specialized services to help them on their way to recovery while also reducing their interaction with the criminal justice system.”