Summit County Council will consider a proposal Monday to form a task force to examine jail staffing, equipment, finances and operations sparked by the death of an inmate earlier this month following an altercation with deputies.

District 5 Councilman David Hamilton — a former Akron city prosecutor whose district serves parts of Akron, Fairlawn, Copley and Bath — proposed the group after hearing complaints for months about overcrowding and other issues at the facility from constituents, he said.

Anthony Jones’ death Sept. 2 — a day after an altercation with two Summit County sheriff’s deputies inside the East Crosier Street facility — prompted him to move quickly, he said.

An autopsy revealed Jones, 36, died from cardiac arrest. How the altercation a day earlier may have played into the heart attack or the circumstances surrounding the altercation — which also left the two deputies with minor injuries — are unclear.

Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry asked neighboring Stark County sheriff’s deputies to investigate to avoid a conflict of interest. Stark County has not released any information.

“When a person dies in the jail, it’s horrible,” Hamilton said. “A lot of people and leaders from the African-American community want to know what we’re doing about this.”

Hamilton said he had been told the investigation into Jones’ death may not be finished until November.

He hopes to have the task force assembled to begin work in early December.

Although council must approve forming the task force at its Monday meeting, Hamilton said he’s certain he has the votes.

He said he’s also confirmed some of the people who will join him on the 10-member task force, including Akron NAACP President Judi Hill and J. Dean Carro, a retired emeritus professor of the University of Akron law school. Representatives from the sheriff’s and county prosecutor’s office will also serve.

And Hamilton said he’d like to find a former Summit County jail inmate to sit on the task force, too.

“We’re looking for credibility here … it would be great if we could find someone who turned [his or her] life around,” said Hamilton, who said people who are interested can leave messages at his office at 330-208-7821.

Hamilton said he hopes the task force will provide clear insight into how the jail functions now and ideas on how to make it work better, along with a financial plan to get there.

Barry wasn’t immediately available Thursday evening to talk about the task force, but as recently as December, he said the jail is at a breaking point.

The sheriff’s operating budget has dropped about 10 percent between 2008 and 2016.

“[There] is a point in which efficiency reaches a point when it’s a safety factor. And we have reached that point,” Barry said in December.

At the time, two gyms for inmates were used for storage.

The library was closed. Counseling for anger management was limited. And rules prohibiting the placement of violent and nonviolent inmates together in cells had been loosened.

Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com.