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Government & Politics

State Inspector Says Prison Program Rife with Fraud, Waste and Abuse

photo of prison bars
WIKIMEDIA
Inspector General says there's rampant abuse in prison vocational program.

The head of Ohio’s government watchdog agency has found what he’s calling “rampant fraud, waste and abuse” in the inmate vocational training program that operates 33 shops at 13 prisons.

Inspector general Randall Meyer says Department of Rehabilitation and Correction employees used their positions with Ohio Penal Industries for personal gain. Meyer says he found 26 examples of wrongdoing including free repairs on personal vehicles, inmate labor used for personal tasks, and spending on dairy barns at London and Marion that were closed before they were ever used.

“The dairy barns themselves, once the bonds come through and all the interest is paid on that, it's $13 million.”

Meyer also notes free custom made furniture, including a table and chairs valued at more than $9,000 given to Rep. Larry Householder, who’s locked in a battle with Speaker Ryan Smith to lead the House next year. The furniture has been returned. The prisons department says aggressive actions have been taken, including leadership and personnel changes.