Toledo prison hit by increasing violence
Sunday, October 13, 2013 8:01 PM
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Authorities at the state prison in Toledo have seen inmate violence continuing to rise despite a series of changes, with four slayings in 13 months.
The Blade reports that after the Toledo Correctional Institution's first homicide last year, staffing was increased on nights and weekends and a second investigator added. Then another inmate was killed in his cell this year, and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction added nine officers to the maximum-security prison.There have been two more deadly assaults this year, the latest coming Oct. 6 when Michael Dodson, 38, died at a hospital after being assaulted in his cell. The Lucas County coroner's office said he died from blunt-force injuries to his neck and head. Inmate James Oglesby was killed in August after being attacked by a metal baseball bat in a recreation area.
Ohio statistics show the four slayings are the most in the past 13 months of any state prison. Authorities say there are more fights, too. The prison investigated 136 incidents of inmate-on-inmate violence in 2010-12.
The prison began in 2011 taking in maximum-security prisoners from around the state, putting two inmates in each cell to deal with statewide overcrowding.
State prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said among the changes at Toledo have been using a merit dorm for well-behaved inmates isolated from the most violent, and extra surveillance cameras were installed.
The Blade said a legislatively established committee that monitors prisons found that inmate-on-inmate assaults jumped about 113 percent and inmate-on-staff assaults were up some 74 percent from 2010 to 2012 at the Toledo prison. Watchdog groups have also found high employee turnover at Toledo.
Guard union officials say the staff additions haven't been enough, and more is needed.
"The mood inside the prison is that we need more staff. We have too many inmates," said Ryan Ochmanek, a corrections officer and union steward. "We're overcrowded and, with double-bunking, we need more staff."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said lack of funding to staff prisons and inmate overcrowding create dangerous situations in prisons.