Wednesday, 17 October 2012 21:21

State audit reveals failures of Ohio’s newest private prison

Written by Ohio Private Prison
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 By German Lopez 

 A state audit of the private prison sold by Gov. John Kasich last year found the prison is only meeting 66.7 percent of the state’s standards. The report, released last week, found a total of 47 violations in a northeastern Ohio prison owned by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which the state government sold to CCA last year as part of a privatization push set out in Ohio’s 2012-13 budget.

The news comes two weeks after CityBeat published a story looking at the many problems presented by Ohio’s policy to privatize prisons (“Liberty for Sale,”  issue of Sept. 19). 

The violations noted in the Ohio Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (ODRC) audit range from staff training problems to poor food quality, with some inmates feeling unsafe due to the lack of control among prison staff.

“It was apparent throughout certain departments that DRC policy and procedure is not being followed,” the audit said. “Staff was interviewed and some stated they are not sure what to do because of the confusion between CCA policy and DRC policy. Some staff expressed safety concerns due to low staffing numbers and not having enough coverage. Other staff stated that there is increased confusion due to all the staffing transitions.”

The findings shine some light into why ODRC Director Gary Mohr might have decided to stop privatizing Ohio’s prisons  at least for now. On Sept. 25  the same day the audit was mailed to Mohr’s office — Mohr announced that his department would focus on sentencing reforms to bring down recidivism instead of privatizing more prisons to save costs. 

Despite Mohr’s comment and the audit, Rob Nichols, Kasich’s spokesperson, says the governor’s stance on privatizing prisons hasn’t changed and “everything remains on the table.”

Mohr is one of many in Kasich’s administration to have previous connections to CCA.

Read 1699 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 October 2012 19:39
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