Lake Erie Correctional audit finds severe lack of compliance
YOUNGSTOWN, OH - State Representative Robert F. Hagan today highlighted a recent audit of the correctional facility run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) that illustrates the failure of prison privatization.
The report, conducted by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ORDC), concluded that the Lake Erie Correctional Institution was only in compliance with 66.7% of Ohio correctional standards. The report cited concerns regarding staffing shortages, outdated and improperly secured nonlethal munitions, numerous fire hazards and staff confusion over the difference between ORDC and CCA procedures. Auditors even observed instances of three inmates being housed in one cell with the third offender sleeping on a mattress on the floor.
"As the recent report highlights, prison privatization just does not work," Rep. Hagan said. "Instead of focusing on prisoner rehabilitation or safe and secure incarceration, private prisons end up cutting corners in order to benefit the bottom line."
In anticipation of a Republican push for prison privatization, Representative Hagan - along with Representative Gerberry - introduced House Bill 237 in May of 2011, which would regulate the sale of state prison facilities to private corporations. After an initial drive by Governor Kasich to move towards privatizing Ohio's prisons, the administration has seemingly backtracked, with ORDC Director Gary Mohr recently stating that going forward the department will focus more on ways to reduce recidivism rather than further privatization.
"While I was encouraged to read the director's recent words, I urge him and the Governor to commit to keeping Ohio's correctional facilities operated and overseen by qualified public officers and workers." Rep. Hagan added. "This includes not only the prison guard staff, but food service and medical care as well. If we want to reduce recidivism and the overall prison population in Ohio, a company that increases profits with each new prisoner cannot be in charge."