What happened to Robin Arraj? Cuyahoga County “Justice”

The Cuyahoga County Jail, located in the Cuyahoga County Justice Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, is a bad place. It’s “problem-plagued” and marked by “inmate deaths and inhumane conditions”. Today, people protested the “inhumane” conditions as well as Cuyahoga County’s failure to do anything about those conditions. It was the U.S. Marshals who described the conditions as “inhumane”. That was November 2018. Eight people died in that jail in 2018. A woman prisoner fell in a puddle of water from a leak that had gone on for days. No one did anything about the leak. The prisoner, Tammy Decosta, fell, hit her head, told officials she was having trouble with her eyesight, officials did nothing. Tammy Decosta is now legally blind… and suing the county. Prisoners are strapped to chairs and beaten. The beatings are videotaped. Nothing happens. This is Cuyahoga County Jail, where Robin Arraj “died” in 2017. Last week, Robin Arraj’s family sued the Cuyahoga County Jail, located in the “Justice” Center. What happened to Robin Arraj? Justice.

Terrance Dubose is 47 years old and lives with mental illness. He is an inmate at Cuyahoga County Jail. On July 16, 2018, he was strapped to a chair and beaten, punched in the face numerous times. He was left in that chair for hours. The officer who punched him did the same thing to a woman prisoner, Chantelle Glass, in 2012. Nothing happened to that officer. Terrance Dubose is still housed in Cuyahoga County Jail. Robin Arraj is still dead.

In June 2017 Robin Arraj, 51 years old, entered Cuyahoga County Jail. She was supposed to stay there three days. Three days. She “was found unresponsive” on her first day in the jail. Robin Arraj was living with and being treated for opioid addiction. She was prescribed methadone. She informed the staff of her medical needs. The State “failed”, refused, to give Robin Arraj treatment, and so she went into withdrawal, became hypertensive, and “was found unresponsive”, one day into a three-day sentence. 

The Cuyahoga County Jail determined that Robin Arraj died “of natural causes.” There was nothing natural in her death. The overcrowding of the jail was not natural. The “inhumane” conditions were not natural. The refusal to provide appropriate treatment are not natural. They’re criminal.Now lawmakers call for reform, intensified oversight, and unprecedented scrutiny. Where were they during the years of institutional inhumanity and violation of Constitutional and human rights as well as dignity and decency? Nowhere to be seen. And so, as so often, it is left to the family and other loved ones to carry the burden, to sue the State to get a little bit of justice in the name of their loved ones who were sacrificed on our modern-day altars. What happened to Robin Arraj? Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. Cuyahoga County Justice happened, and it’s happening across the United States.

(Photo Credit: Cleveland.com)

About Dan Moshenberg

Dan Moshenberg is an organizer educator who has worked with various social movements in the United States and South Africa. Find him on Twitter at @danwibg.