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Courts and Crime


State report raises more concerns about Ohio's private prison
Corrections Corporation says things are improving at Lake Erie Correctional
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

The state’s watchdog for prisons has again found major problems at Ohio’s only privately owned prison. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the latest report on the Lake Erie Correctional Institution.

SCHULTZE: Prison report

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The food is rated “good.” So are mental health and education services.

But when it comes to things like assaults, staff accountability and access to what are called “purposeful activities” – including the library -- the Lake Erie Correctional Institution shows a “need of improvement.”

That’s the worst of the four ratings by Ohio’s Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, which visited the private prison in Conneaut in late January and issued its report last week.

The committee says inmate-on-inmate assaults nearly doubled from 2010 to 2012, and assaults against staff tripled. It says staff turnover is high and morale is low.

Lake Erie had been run for a company called Management & Training Corp. But in late 2011, Corrections Corporation of America paid nearly $73 million to buy the state prison outright – the first such deal in the country. And last year, it made room for 300 more inmates by moving bunk beds into day and programming space.

A statement from the company says it is proud of what it has done to ensure prisoners have “safe secure housing and quality rehabilitation” at a significant savings to taxpayers.  It notes that the state report includes a period before Corrections Corporation took over and  says gang activity and criminal incidents were both down in 2012.

 

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