by David Patterson | June 17, 2014
The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association /AFSCME Local 11 is calling on Ohio corrections authorities and state lawmakers to fill vacant positions at three correctional institutions in the state. At a time when Ohio’s prison population continues to rise, these vacancies jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of corrections officers and AFSCME members.
Only 27 of 83 positions were filled at the three corrections facilities. Ross Correctional Institution failed to fill all 13 of its allocated positions; Mansfield Correctional Institution has not filled 28 of 42 positions; and Toledo Correctional Institution still has not filled 15 of the 28 positions it was allocated. Meanwhile, the prison population of Ohio continues to rise, with 50,639 inmates and more than $3.14 billion allocated to run the system.
“That money was allocated for those positions,” said OCSEA Pres. Christopher Mabe, also an AFSCME International vice president. “If they’re not filling them, then where did the money go?”
He added, “In the wake of major prison violence over the last year, we can’t afford any vacancy rate. Those positions need to be filled now.”
OCSEA uncovered the huge gap in filling the available positions, and union leadership contacted the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DR&C) and lawmakers to demand the positions be filled.
Major assault rates on staff remain at a seven-year high, and the number of COs dipped dramatically. Today in Ohio, there are 846 fewer correction officers than seven years ago, with more than 400 positions eliminated in the last two years. In March, OCSEA called on DR&C and lawmakers to add 400 correction officers. Instead of adding these security positions, DR&C proposed adding mostly managers and other personnel to deliver inmate programming.
OCSEA Corrections Assembly Pres. Jim Adkins criticized the DR&C’s skewed priorities.
“We all believe in the need for inmate programming, but you can’t sacrifice security for that,” he said.
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