FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carlo LoParo, 614-752-1150
Monday, October 3, 2011
Ohio Moves Death Row to Chillicothe Correctional Institution
Maintains Maximum Security Death Row; Adds 300 Cells to Manage Other Violent Inmates
COLUMBUS – In an effort to substantially reduce incidents of violence within Ohio’s prisons, the state prison system today announced it will consolidate and relocate Death Row to a maximum security section of the Chillicothe Correctional Institution. Currently, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) maintains Death Row at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown and Mansfield Correctional Institution.
The consolidation adds hundreds of maximum security prison cells at the Mansfield and Youngstown facilities. The additional cells will be used to separate the state’s most violent and difficult to manage inmates from the general prison population. Removing inmates involved in violent acts against staff and other inmates from general population settings is critical to the state prison system’s overall violence reduction strategy.
“We are going to reduce violence in our prisons, and we are going to do it by better allocating our resources,” said state corrections director Gary C. Mohr. “We will maintain Death Row inmates in the same highly secure and highly restrictive environment at one location, and gain valuable cell space that will allow us to separate and better manage our most violent inmates.”
In 2009 and 2010, DRC recorded 5,070 violent incidents throughout its prisons. While 206 occurred at the Mansfield Correctional Institution and 63 occurred at the Ohio State Penitentiary, only five included Death Row inmates.
Consolidating Death Row resolves several of the correction agency’s security and resource management concerns. The move does the following:
· Adds a combined 300 high security prison cells at the Ohio State Penitentiary and Mansfield Correctional Institution. The two facilities house 116 and 29 Death Row inmates respectively. Due to Death Row’s restrictive housing parameters, repurposing designated Death Row units at these facilities more than doubles each unit’s capacity.
· Redeploys a combined 80 correction officers currently assigned to Death Row at the Ohio State Penitentiary and Mansfield Correctional Institution to manage high security inmates within those respective facilities. The additional security allocation greatly enhances DRC’s overall violence reduction efforts.
· Eliminates the security risks associated with transporting Death Row inmates long distances the day prior to a scheduled execution. These high profile and widely publicized movements create substantial security risks.
· Utilizes high security units at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution made vacant by the DRC’s previous consolidation of mental health services.
Overall, Ohio has 148 Death Row inmates. The state’s lone female Death Row inmate is housed at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Two Death Row inmates with serious medical conditions are housed at the Franklin Medical Center (formerly Corrections Medical Center) in Columbus. These inmates will remain at the respective facilities.
Since 1885, Ohio has moved Death Row five times. The state maintained Death Row at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus from 1885 to 1972; the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville from 1972 to 1995; and the Mansfield Correctional Institution from 1995 to 2005. In 2005, DRC moved Death Row to Youngstown while keeping inmates on its mental health case load in Mansfield.
Prison officials expect to complete the move to the Chillicothe Correctional Institution by January.