Grade Card for the Ohio Dept.

of Rehabilitation and Correction
20 years after Lucasville GRADE Physical structures
Prisons used to be built like fortresses. In prisons like the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, large numbers of inmates could be housed in one area. But new prisons are built like campuses. Inmate dorms are spread out across a campus, and there is less likelihood of large masses of inmates congregating in one area. So not only is there reinforced concrete for the newer prisons, newer buildings are spread out, such as Mansfield. Post-Lucasville Riot recommendations indicated the creation of a joint committee to consult with front line staff on facility design. However, that was never done.

For these reasons, we give DR&C a B- in Physical Structures.

Staffing
The Lucasville Riot began in the recreation yard. Recreation and meal times mean large numbers of inmates are in motion, and so always carries a higher risk of outbursts and violence. Prior to the riot, there was virtually unimpeded mass movement of inmates at maximum security prisons in places like the recreation yards; inmates were able to congregate in large groups; and staffing was inadequate. The recommendation after Lucasville was to have adequate staffing in maximum security prisons, particularly during times of inmates movement; smaller numbers of inmates congregating; and a redesign of recreation yards. DR&C made strides through the nineties in this and other areas with respect to staffing and controlled movement. At this union’s urging, 904 Correction Officers were added to the rolls and the number of inmates in some maximum security recreation yards at any one time reduced. However, since then, reductions in staffing have meant the loss of posts throughout the prisons, including in recreation yards, inmate dining rooms, perimeter posts and other critical areas. In Lucasville, like many prisons, there are just two officers per shift during recreation. At meal times, officers are taken off their posts to cover the inmate dining room. A recent budget proposal to privatize food service will further destabilize these areas, since private food workers are not trained in security and staff are already short. In addition, the state has not only lost every officer gained after Lucasville, we’ve lost nearly double that many, without a corresponding reduction in inmate population. Sentencing reform passed two years ago has not reduced the inmate population as expected. Since Feb. 2013, there has been a significant increase in inmate population in state prisons.

For these reason, DR&C gets an F in Staffing.

LOCAL

AFL-CIO

Ohio Civil Service Employees Association

A = Excellent

B = Good

C= Satisfactory

D = Poor

F = Fail

Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction 20 years after Lucasville GRADE Crisis Preparedness
During the Lucasville incident, a lot of discussion centered on how prepared or not prepared DR&C was in dealing with the crisis. Chain of command appeared to be broken and inmates worked as “clerks,” gaining unfettered access to records such as inter-office communication, personnel records and staffing conditions. There was even evidence that inmates had gained access to DR&C’s Crisis Response Plan. Since Lucasville, there have been some steady gains in these areas and Ohio appeared to be a model around the country for crisis preparedness in the 90s. DR&C implemented Critical Incident Management, that clearly outlined chain of command when incidences occurred. In addition, inmates could no longer hold jobs that gave them access to information, and the clerk position was eliminated. However, the system can only be so prepared when prisons are so short-staffed. In spite of some gains in this area, short staffing, increase in gang activity, an increase in violence on staff, and the continued reliance on unit management mitigates these gains.

Grade Card for the

For these reasons, we give DR&C a C in Crisis Preparedness.

SECURITY Threat Groups
Each facility did comply with our recommendation after Lucasville to create Security Threat Group committees at each prison to disseminate information about gang activity. Today, 1 out of 6 inmates in Ohio’s prisons are in a gang. However, information about those gangs seldom goes beyond the STG committee and isn’t properly communicated to the staff who need it most. Training on Security Threat Groups is available prior to service and as an in-service annually, but the curriculum does not keep up with gang trends or activities. After the riot, OCSEA recommended increased training in STGs to six hours. But today, the in-service is barely an hour long and the content is not adequate and offers only the most basic information about gangs.

For these reasons, we give DR&C a D in Strategic Threat Groups.

UNIT MANAGEMENT
The heavy reliance on unit management and inmate programming at a time when resources are scarce and security staff is low, was a concern before and after the Lucasville riot. At the time, OCSEA cautioned that unit management undermines prison security by clouding and interrupting chain of command. Security staff is forced to also ensure their safety as well as the inmates. Instead of heeding OCSEA’s warning, however, the administration continues to depend on unit management at a time of budget cuts and scarce resources. Security should continue to take precedence over programming, particularly with massive overcrowding and understaffing.

That’s why DR&C gets an F in Unit Management.

A = Excellent

B = Good

C= Satisfactory

D = Poor

F = Fail
Printed in-house by OCSEA