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Published: Saturday, 11/23/2013

Guard hurt in attack by prisoner in N. Toledo

Incident part of uptick in violence at lockup

BLADE STAFF

A female officer at Toledo Correctional Institution suffered serious injuries after she was attacked by an inmate Friday morning, officials said.

The most recent assault is part of a steadily growing violence issue at the Toledo prison since 2011, and with four killings in just more than a year’s time, Toledo Correctional ranks as the deadliest of the 28 institutions in the state prison system.

The victim in Friday’s incident, who was not identified, was taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center by Toledo Fire Department paramedics, according to a fire dispatcher and Meredith Rinna, a spokesman at the North Toledo prison.

The officer’s injuries were described by officials as serious but not life-threatening. The incident was reported just before 10:30 a.m.

The inmate, who was not identified, was transferred to a higher-security prison, Ms. Rinna said. She could not say to which penitentiary the inmate was transported.

The investigation is being handled by the Ohio Highway Patrol.

The prison, which opened in 2000, experienced its first homicide when Bradley Hamlin was killed by another inmate in September, 2012.

Shortly after that, in March, inmate Arturo Lopez was strangled inside his cell by another prisoner. The murder of James Oglesby, who was attacked with a metal baseball bat in the recreation area in August, and the deadly assault of Michael Dodson on Oct. 6, followed.

The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, a legislatively established committee that monitors activities of prison facilities, recently reported that inmate-on-inmate assaults at the East Central Avenue prison have increased nearly 113 percent and inmate-on-staff assaults jumped nearly 74 percent from 2010 to 2012.

In the last few years, the institution underwent mandated changes to offset a rising inmate population and curb an upswing in violence, including increasing night and weekend shifts for staff, having an investigator look into inmate problems, and beefing up security. For the time being, new prisoners are not being sent to the Toledo site.

State prison officials pointed to the changes that were introduced two years ago as reasons for the surge in violence at the Toledo prison, including an increase in housing higher-level offenders and putting two inmates in single cells to relieve the overcrowding issue.

— Roberta Gedert



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