The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) is tasked by the Ohio State Government to administer the state’s correctional facilities. Ohio is famous for its prison system and currently has the sixth-largest prison system within the United States of America. Ohio has 27 prisons and e juvenile facilities.
However, Ohio has long been criticized for having an incarceration rate of over 659 per 100,000 people; making it having one of the largest lock-ups than almost any other democracy on Earth. According to recent numbers, over 78,000 people are locked up behind bars in the State of Ohio. The numbers can be even higher.
Regardless, the State of Ohio has always had a strong eye towards the criminals and thus makes suitable actions.
This article will look into the 4 different maximum level prisons in Ohio, and what it means when someone is locked up there.
1. Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP):
Having over 502 inmate capacity, this is considered one of the maximum level prisons in the state of Ohio. Located in Youngstown, Ohio, the facility has a history expanding over two centuries and was the second prison in the State of Ohio after the first prison known as Columbus, Ohio.
After some up-gradation, the prison was opened up again after 1998 and is currently managed by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. What’s interesting is that, unlike other maximum-security prisons, the OSP calls itself a “mixed” security prison as it has different blocks where it houses Level 3 inmates. It also houses level 1 inmates but their ratio is very less and the facility that houses them is far from other blocks.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says it becomes easier for them to manage a prison with different levels, rather than having one prison for level 5 inmates.
What makes OSP a maximum-security prison is that for years, it has housed inmates who were condemned to death, and OSP oversaw their executions.
The inmates placed in the maximum-security cells are the ones that are housed outside of the institutional fence and have a building of their own. This building is where the press has barely been given access, and authorities have revealed that inmates are locked down in a small cell and given access only to showers, restrooms, and a recreation period extending up to 1 hour, 5 days per week.
Due to its strict laws and actions, the OSP’s maximum-security cell saw an uprising in 2011 by three death row inmates. The inmates held a hunger strike for over 12 days, and the reason was rather daunting because they wanted better treatment and were given a very harsh one, according to them.
If you are given a maximum security sentence, OSP is not the right place you would wish to land yourself in.
2. Southern Ohio Correctional Facility:
This maximum-security prison is the second one on our list. It is also known as Lucasville, since it is located right outside of Lucasville, Scioto County, Ohio. The prison was completed in the year 1972 and has ever since housed some of the worst criminals that have conducted crimes in the state of Ohio.
The prison can house 1,330 inmates and is managed by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
While the prison was not known to the outside world, the 1993 riots changed that. 1993 is when 450 inmates made alliances with different prison gang members to revolt against the entire prison structure. The revolt happened on Easter Sunday, 11th April 1993, and went on to 11 days, and ultimately the security officials took control of the prison once again. The revolt has also been covered in the Netflix documentary known as Captive.
The revolt occurred due to several reasons, the two of them were management-related namely overcrowding and strict management facility, and the second one was the frequent tuberculosis testing that was refused by the Muslim prisoners as the testing device used phenol, something that goes against the rules and regulations of the Islamic faith.
During the control regaining operation, over 9 prisoners died including 1 officer. Ultimately, the officials agreed to their demands. However, the term Lucasville five made headlines as it described the five prisoners who were the riot leaders being condemned to death for their roles in the riot.
Bomani Shakur is the last one to be executed out of the Lucasville Five and is to be given execution on 16th November 2023.
3. Ross Correctional Institute, Chillicothe, Ohio:
Located in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a maximum capacity of over 2,578 inmates. While the facility houses level 3 inmates, however, it has a maximum security status due to frequent riots and rates of violence. The only silver lining to this prison, if someone ever lands here, is that you will be given good medical care since the medical services of this prison are considered to be one of the most excellent ones.
Unlike the two prisons mentioned above, Ross Correctional Institute does not have any “famous” riots. Rather, the Ross Correctional Institute has worked over the years to improve the security and also to keep the prisoners engaged in different kinds of educational activities, since the level 3 inmates are given much greater freedom over educational programs given to inmates, largely because most of them will be going back to their life once they have served their crime.
Offenders are given the choice to participate in different vocational programs, classes; that include carpentry, administrative office tech, and barbering. If good behaviour is shown, more doors will be opened as the offenders can participate within Cognitive Behavior Therapy Programs helping those that have had substance abuse issues through the help of counselling, educating, and emphasizing the importance of leading a sober life.
For being a level 3 prison, the inmates are allowed a substantial meeting time, unlike the above-mentioned two maximum-security prisons.
Lake County Adult Detention Maximum Security Facility, Ohio:
This is a maximum-security detention facility, rather than a prison. This houses those individuals who are undergoing the trial of serious crimes they may have committed including assault, robbery, murder, or rape.
Officers present here are trained (even ordered) to use physical force in order to keep establishing law & order, and also in case they are attacked, or there is violence between inmates.
However, if an inmate is convicted and found to be awarded a 1-year long sentence, then they are to stay within there and serve that sentence here. The majority of the prisoners here are adults, above the age of 30, however, in some cases, they can be below that age.
This detention facility is even more dangerous because of the internal gangs present who keep on attacking one another and form alliances against guards and wardens. While there have not been any serious riots, however, the guards are always on standby if anything is to occur.
The detention centre, in order to keep the law and order balanced, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has given it a status of maximum security as the guards and authorities do not want anything to go wrong with those under trial.
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