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Guards Picket Over a What They Say Is a Growing Drug Problem in Ohio Prisons

Prison cells
WOSU

Some Ohio prison guards have been picketing today outside the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville. They’re trying to draw attention to what they call state efforts to mislead the public about drugs in prison.

Prison guard Nick Brabson says drug activity inside the prison is at an all-time high. And he and other members of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association say the state is trying to convince Ohioans otherwise by cherry-picking inmate drug test results. Brabson says prison officials tend to tout one type of test.

“The random drug testing is the numbers they like to put out. That’s usually lower. It’s like a saturation testing. They’ll test upwards of 50 to 100 guys, with the hope that most of them pass.”

And they do: State figures show about 5 percent of random drug tests come back positive at Lucasville. Tests done for cause come back positive about six times more frequently. A state prisons spokeswoman says the accusation the department is trying to cover the drug problem are inaccurate, and she says all inmate drug tests figures are public record.