The Ohio State said Wednesday that a prison unit housing around 430 inmates will be closed and inmates would just be transferred elsewhere while employees will be given jobs at other prisons. The state is doing so to save precious money.
The states say the prison unit happens to be Ohio’s most expensive costing $65 a day per inmate to operate compared to the considerably less $21 at similar facilities in Belmont, Richland, and Trumbull counties. The said prison has a current population of 49,517 inmates, about 900 fewer inmates than a year ago.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said the Inmates will be moved from Hocking Correctional Unit in southeastern Ohio by the end of March.
Hocking is a lower security facility that is considered part of the Southeastern Correctional Complex, just outside of Nelsonville about 60 miles southeast of Columbus.
Prisons spokesman Grant Doepel said the inmates will be transferred to other prisons, while the 110 staff affected will be given jobs at other Ohio prisons, including a facility in nearby Lancaster.
The state is planning to transform the Hocking unit into an educational, health care or drug treatment facility.
The prison’s decreasing population is being attributed to programs finally taking effect such as placing low-level offenders in facilities outside of the prison system.
The union representing prison guards, however, criticized the move, arguing it’s a lot of job losses for a community to absorb. Christopher Mabe, president of the Ohio Civil Service Employee Association, also contends that the move could lead to overcrowding and violence at other facilities.
Since the state appears to be all set for the planned prison closure and transfer of both prisoners and staff workers, it is unclear if any opposing groups still have other options like posing a legal challenge to stop the move that is scheduled already to take place in less than three months.