Ohio Prison Workers Protest Against State, Call for More Correction Officers

Ohio's prison employee's union protests outside the department headquarters. (Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio)
Ohio's prison employee's union protests outside the department headquarters. (Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio)
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Dozens of people crowded the sidewalk outside of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction headquarters calling for prison reforms.

The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association claims there are several problems with Ohio’s prisons, including a depleted security staff, higher inmate suicide rates and breakouts like that by T.J. Lane, the gunman who killed three students at Chardon High School.

Union President Chris Mabe said Ohio has the money but spends it on a restructured management system that doesn’t put enough people actually inside the prisons.

“We are sick and tired of people burying their heads in the sand, saying, 'There’s nothing to see here and move on,'" Mabe said. "We have incidents inside our prisons that need to be dealt with and the only way we can deal with them is by having boots on the ground during a 24/7 period.”

According to Mabe—privatizing the food services plays into the problems. He says not all prisoners are getting the same amount of food which causes issues.

The department of rehabilitation and corrections declined to comment on the protest but said it’s working to resolve issues, including hiring more than 80 new correction officers.

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