What one might expect at the state’s primary maximum security prison, is borne out in a new report from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.
At the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, inmate on staff assaults and inmate on inmate assaults are both up. However, the same report says safety and security at the facility is acceptable, the category of health and wellbeing gets a “good” grade and under “Fiscal Accountability” the result of the study is “exceptional.”
Total inmate-on-inmate assaults in FY 2015 slightly increased by 3.6 percent in comparison to FY 2014. Total inmate-on-staff assaults in FY 2015 slightly increased by 3.4 percent in comparison to FY 2014.
Positively, preliminary data for CY 2015 indicates inmate-on-inmate and inmate-on-staff assaults have decreased by 18.8 percent and 31.1 percent respectively compared to CY 2014. The rate of rule 19 convictions for CY 2014 decreased by 17.9 percent compared to CY 2013. The rate of rule 19 convictions for CY 2014 at SOCF was significantly more than the comparator prison as well as the DRC average.
A Corrections officer union official recently told the Daily Times assaults on staff are two-edged.
“Our officers, from time to time, have inmates throw body fluids in their face – urine, feces, other body fluids,” Randy Hiles of Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA) Local 7330, said. “And when this happens, naturally the concern of the officer is if the inmate is HIV positive or has some other infectious disease.”“Our officers, from time to time, have inmates throw body fluids in their face – urine, feces, other body fluids,” Randy Hiles of Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA) Local 7330, said. “And when this happens, naturally the concern of the officer is if the inmate is HIV positive or has some other infectious disease.”
The DRC says ending violence is a top priority.
“DRC has zero tolerance for violence of any kind within our prisons,” JoEllen Smith of the DRC told the Daily Times. “and violence reduction continues to be a priority for the agency.”
The report says there have been no homicides during the past two years. In CY 2015, SOCF reported one disturbance.
Use of Force is a major past of the recent inspection and while the report says accountability has improved, CIIC has ongoing concerns regarding unjustified uses of oleoresin capsicum (OC) (pepper) spray on inmates and inmates continue to report excessive force.
During CY 2014, the facility reported 443 use of force incidents, which was a decrease of 5.5 percent. However, the rate of use of force incidents increased by 5.2 percent.
The report says inmates have consistently reported abusive language with racial overtones, excessive force and staff retaliation for reporting complaints.
On the positive side of the inspection report, each of the units appeared clean with few maintenance concerns; staffing appeared to meet the needs and there were no backlogs for inmate appointments. However, inmated relayed concerns regarding the doctor.
Another category is “Mental Health” and the report says staffing there appeared to be adequate and there were no reported backlogs.
SOCF is a maximum security male prison, housing Level 4 (maximum) security inmates. The facility opened in 1972 and is located on 1,625 acres in Lucasville, Ohio. The institution’s FY 2015 GRF budget was $51,370,881.
The rated capacity for SOCF is 1,638. As of January 25, 2016, the institution housed 1,228 inmatesiv (75.0 percent of capacity). Demographically, 62.5 percent of the inmates are classified as black, 35.5 percent as white, and 2.0 percent as “other” race. The average inmate age was 32.2 years.1v As of January 1, 2016, SOCF employed 638 total staff, of which 446 are security staff.vi
The institution scored 100 percent compliance on the most recent ACA audit for mandatory standards, and 99.3 percent on non-mandatory standards.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.