Department of Corrections must address jail lapses

Associated Press

November 3, 2013

Editor’s note: This editorial in its entirety first appeared in the Oct. 13 edition of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction needs to move quickly to determine what’s at the root of repeated lapses by Ohio prison guards as well as their supervisors.

The lapses, which include possible log-rigging and cover-ups in two separate prisons, came to light after two recent high-profile prisoner deaths.

The most recent report by the state prison system concerns the apparent September suicide of Ariel Castro, the notorious Cleveland kidnapper and rapist who was one month into a 1,000-year sentence. His death followed the August suicide of condemned murderer Billy Slagle, who hung himself at Chillicothe Correctional Institution just days before his execution. …

Both Slagle and Castro were supposed to be checked every 30 minutes, but were not. Supervisors failed to verify that rounds had been made and, as with the Slagle case, Castro’s guards are accused of falsifying the prison logs to cover up their failure to monitor the prisoner. They are on paid administrative leave, pending a full investigation.

Such parallel failures at two different prisons suggest systemic problems in Ohio’s prisons.

Corrections Director Gary Mohr must root out it out.

He has promised to accept the latest report’s recommendations, among them, the common-sense notion that better supervision is needed. …