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Government & Politics

Former Head of Ohio Prisons Department, Death Penalty Opponent Dies

photo of Terry Collins

A former head of the Ohio prisons department who became an advocate against the death penalty died suddenly this week.

Sixty-three-year old Terry Collins worked for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for more than 30 years and was its director under Gov. Ted Strickland. As warden at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Collins had witnessed dozens of executions. But after retiring in early 2010, Collins spoke out for an end to capital punishment in Ohio, as he did in an interview in October.

“As I reviewed the death penalty and the 32 executions that I witnessed, every time I wondered, ‘did the system get it right?’ I have concerns about fairness of the system.”

Collins died of an apparent heart attack near his home in Chillicothe.