United Pastors in Mission (UPM) of Greater Cleveland met with State Attorney, Dave Yost and US Marshal, Pete Elliot regarding the problems in the Cuyahoga County Jail system. Too numerous of infractions and inhumane treatment caused real concern among the ministers. They were not only praying during the meeting but asking questions of the Marshal and State Attorney representatives as to remedies for the failure of the jail administration to follow human standards. To date, this is not happening and the present Sheriff seems to be complicit in the killings and injustices.
Pastors attending the meeting, led by UPM President, Rev. Dr. Larry Macon stated that things are unacceptable regarding the treatment of inmates in the county jail system especially hearing of the number of prisoners found dead in the jails. The ministers were not only concerned about the seven deaths in a four month span in 2018, but the others in previous years and those who could die in this year alone if nothing is done immediately. They informed State Attorney Yost that this is a wake-up call for all to consider the injustice going on in the county jails and instead of rehabilitating inmates they are being warehoused and too many die while being incarcerated. “There’s too much injustices” one of the ministers shouted out during the meeting.
United Pastors reached out to the Attorney General’s Office realizing that his Office provides an array of services and expertise to support the mission of Ohio’s prosecuting attorneys. From pre-indictment investigation, to trial preparation and prosecution, to appellate assistance and supported the pastors’ previous US Safe Surrenders programs.
The pastors want the Attorney General Office to continue working on helping people through another Fugitive safe Surrender (FSS) program because of its unique, creative, and highly successful initiatives that encourages persons wanted for non-violent crimes to voluntarily surrender to the law in a safe and faith-based setting.
UPM encouraged the program’s return to the management by the United States Marshals Service under Marshal Pete Elliot who worked in the past with the churches and pastors, alongside of the Ohio’s Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office. Safe Surrender Program’s cases were adjudicated inside church facilities and many never were incarcerated and returned to a safe life and did not go through the Justice system again.
Presently, there are tens of thousands of fugitives present in the state of Ohio. Many of them do not present a danger for themselves, their families and the community. However, they often hide their identities trying to avoid their arrest and too often further their criminal behavior. They live in constant fear of arrest and for UPM the crucial step toward community re-entry would be through Fugitive Safe Surrender Program. Talks will continue!