Struthers consultant recommends improvements at city jail

Robert Pace, hired by the city as a jail consultant, presented his two-day evaluation of the jail to City Council

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STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – A lack of cameras, no microphones and bad lines of sight — these are things that Robert Pace has on his list of improvements needed at the Struthers’ city jail.

Pace has worked with jails for more than 40 years across the U.S. He was in charge of the Cuyahoga County Jail for about 20 years.

Now, he has set his sights on improving the facility in Struthers.

Pace originally worked with Struthers as an expert witness to the September 2015 hanging death in the Struthers jail. During that time, Mayor Terry Stocker asked him for help with improvements there.

Pace recommended several options to City Council after being hired on as a consultant for a set period of time. The hiring was approved by Council at its meeting last week.

“Those options could include keeping it as a 12-day facility or moving it to a temporary holding facility, which is a six-hour facility,” Pace said. “Possibly looking at not having a jail in Struthers all together.”

Pace’s two-day evaluation of the jail was presented to Council on Wednesday. He said the jail is more than 50 years old, which is outdated. If the city decides to keep it, upgrades must be considered.

“Well, there are physical operational factors — anything that be needed from a renovation perspective, new technology, certainly cameras, possibly audio equipment,” he said.

Money is also a factor.

The type of facility all depends on how much money is made. It is early in the process, but Mayor Stocker said things are going well.

“This is going to be worth its weight in gold, as far as him coming in and being able to do these assessments and being able to provide valuable information, not only for our city, but our police officers,” he said.

Last week, Council said Pace will be paid a maximum of $7,000 for his services. The timeline for Pace to work with Struthers is until the end of April, but Stocker said if his price remains under $7,000, he could work with them longer.

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