Lane’s unit at Allen Oakwood prison had record of security problems

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State prison staff said guards warned inmates were planning an escape, but prison administrators failed to tighten security.

The statement from the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association also faulted low staffing levels at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution, and said inmates with different security ratings shouldn’t have been mixed in the Protective Control Unit.

That unit, where TJ Lane was housed, protects inmates threatened by others. A recent report revealed security deficiencies there.

"I do have a concern regarding those inmates and the management of that unit, going back to our prior inspection, in fact, in 2012," said Joanna Saul, head of the legislature’s Correctional Institution Inspection Committee. She said in 2012, inmates had been found to be tampering with locks, among other problems.

Saul said an April inspection showed improvement, but inmates still felt unsafe, misbehavior went unpunished, and there weren’t enough activities to keep inmates out of trouble.
Saul said some of that might trace back to the unit’s transition from a psychiatric hospital a few years ago.

"You had staff that were used to a different population, and managing that population," she said.

The inspection report says the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction was working to move higher-level inmates like Lane out of the unit. Saul referred questions about that to the department, which declined to comment.

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