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Former Head of Ohio Prisons Department, Death Penalty Opponent Dies

photo of Terry Collins

A former head of the Ohio prisons department who became an advocate against the death penalty died suddenly this week.

Sixty-three-year old Terry Collins worked for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for more than 30 years and was its director under Gov. Ted Strickland. As warden at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Collins had witnessed dozens of executions. But after retiring in early 2010, Collins spoke out for an end to capital punishment in Ohio, as he did in an interview in October.

“As I reviewed the death penalty and the 32 executions that I witnessed, every time I wondered, ‘did the system get it right?’ I have concerns about fairness of the system.”

Collins died of an apparent heart attack near his home in Chillicothe.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.