APNewsBreak: Report blames 'complacency' for prison stabbingJune 13, 2018 5:26pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Staff complacency, supervision problems, and outdated security policies and orders are among problems identified at Ohio's highest-security prisons following an attack on a correctional officer earlier this year that landed the officer in the hospital for weeks with multiple stab wounds, according to a report.

The five-page review commissioned by the state places much of the blame for the Feb. 20 attack on prison guards, while also acknowledging what guards have been saying for months: terminology used to refer to prisoner security levels is causing potentially deadly misunderstandings.

"Hesitation and confusion among staff," the report said, referring to policies and "post orders" regarding inmate classification. The Associated Press obtained the report through an open records request.

"The more confusion the department throws in about what levels of security we have for inmates, the more possibility for these episodes to exist," said Christopher Mabe, president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.

For example, old terminology used a 1-5 scale to rank inmate security levels, whereas new terminology designates just three categories of risk.

In practice, the 1-5 level language is still widespread, according to the union, a fact the report acknowledges.

To manage high-risk inmates, "local policies and post orders should be updated to reflect the new terminology," the report said. It looked at security conditions at Toledo Correctional Institution, the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville — where the attack happened — and the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, the state supermax prison.

At issue is the February assault on guard Matthew Matthias, who was escorting two inmates with the highest security level to the prison infirmary at the time.

Matthias was treated for 32 stab wounds and numerous internal injuries and was on dialysis to help his kidneys recover. Matthias is now home and recuperating but isn't expected back to work for weeks, Mabe told the AP.

The report says most of the staff at the Lucasville prison are resistant to change.

"It is probable that staff complacency significantly contributed to the February 20 incident," the report said.

The union rejected the allegation, saying officers should never have been required to move risky inmates by themselves. The union reached an agreement with the Lucasville prison in April requiring beefed-up security requirements for moving dangerous inmates.

Those include strip searches, one-on-one escorts and banning escorts after 3 p.m. except in emergencies. Mabe said that agreement is an acknowledgment by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction that problems existed with the high-risk inmates.

State prison officials declined to comment.

The inmates involved in the attack on Matthias have violent histories, according to records.

One of them is Casey Pigge, a three-time convicted killer whose latest victim was a fellow inmate on a prison bus he strangled with a restraining chain.

The second inmate suspected in the guard's attack, Greg Reinke, was involved in an attack last year in which he stabbed four inmates after slipping out of handcuffs, according to prison incident reports of that June 2017 assault.


Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Detainees held without charges decry Emiratis' sexual abusesAn AP investigation has found that Yemeni detainees in UAE-controlled prisons are sexually abused and tortured routinely
Sexual abuses rampant in UAE-controlled prisons in YemenHundreds of Yemeni men held without trial in secret prisons run by the United Arab Emirates, a key U.S. ally, are being subjected to sexual abuse in southern Yemen
Georgia officer arrested, charged with assaulting womanAuthorities: Georgia police officer charged with assaulting a woman while he was off duty
In this Monday, June 18, 2018, photo, Jerry Coen speaks to a reporter in Atlanta. Coen, a deaf former inmate, spent 10 years in a Georgia prison after several alcohol-related arrests and said he was denied access to programs that could help him overcome his alcoholism and anger issues. Georgia isn’t doing enough to help deaf and partially deaf people communicate while they’re locked up and after they’re released, which can lead to longer incarceration and more returns to prison, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Brinley Hineman)
Lawsuit: Georgia is denying equal access for deaf inmates
Trial of ex-officer charged in police station rape underwayThe trial of a former Massachusetts police officer charged with raping an intoxicated man in protective custody inside a police station closet has started
3rd ex-Wheaton football player pleads guilty in hazing caseA third former member of a Christian college football team in suburban Chicago who faced felony charges in a 2016 hazing incident has pleaded guilty to lesser charges

Related Searches

Related Searches