Harsh, lengthy inspection report of Toledo Correctional Institution finds increase in assaults

9/12/2013
BLADE STAFF

A state committee today issued a harsh, lengthy inspection report of Toledo Correctional Institution citing significant increases in assaults and three homicides reported there in the past year.

The 164-page report from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee shows that inmate-on-inmate assaults increased by nearly 113 percent and inmate-on-staff assaults increased nearly 74 percent.

Toledo Correctional spokesman Darlene Mitchell deferred comments to JoEllen Smith, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Ms. Smith has not yet responded to an email seeking comment.

RELATED: Click here to read the full report

The prison has the highest staff turnover rate – of 16.5 percent – of all prisons in the state, according to the report.

Most staff resignations come while employees are being investigated, according to the report.

Toledo Correctional “has historically had challenges recruiting quality staff, particularly in healthcare,” the report states.

The report also points out a low staff morale, and staff had been filing complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. According to the report, most officers reported morale as average or low due to feeling unsafe and “a perceived lack of support from the administration.”

Problems in the prison became more apparent when the facility double-bunked its cells doubling the inmate population in 2011. The following year, the facility started to take in maximum-security inmates.

Three homicides and a suicide have occurred inside the prison in less than a year.

The most recent victim was James Ray Oglesby, 32, who was assaulted by another inmate in the facility's recreation yard Aug. 18. He died at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center on Aug. 21.

Ed Sheldon, warden at Toledo Correctional Institution.
Ed Sheldon, warden at Toledo Correctional Institution.

Earlier this month, Dustin Lynch, 26, a former Toledo Correctional inmate, pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated murder in the March 17 strangulation at the facility of inmate Arturo Lopez, 43.

Lynch also pleaded not guilty in the March 10 felonious assault of inmate Christopher Trent, 40.

In August, Lawrence Hensley, 44, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the Sept. 20 strangulation death of Toledo inmate Brad Hamlin, 24.

Also of concern, as stated in the report, is the high percentage of inmates who tested positive for drugs, a backlog for medical attention, an understaffed recreation department, and “insufficient access to and existence of unit programs.”

The report does say Warden Ed Sheldon is aware of the concerns and is working to address them. The commission commends the warden is on the “proactive and creative” implementation of missing-specific housing, adding more security cameras, and increasing staff accountability. The report did not call for any sanctions or deadlines for fixing problems.