Prison watchdog group down to interns, one staff

Posted Jan. 24, 2019 by

The Corrections Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC) that used to oversee Ohio’s prison system and provide numbers on violence in Ohio’s prisons, is all but a shell of its former self.

Five years ago, the director, Joanna Saul, resigned and eventually all but one staff member left. According to, today, unpaid interns with little or no experience in a prison environment are now inspecting the prisons and struggling to post the required annual reports. The last report posted on CIIC’s website is from 2017.

The CIIC was created as a bi-partisan legislative committee designed to oversee Ohio’s prison and ensure they were safe for both inmates and staff. While OCSEA has always had a mixed relationship to the oversight arm, it at least provided the only public information available on assault rates on staff from inside the prisons.

The CIIC, which has been around since 1977, was an early critic of DR&C’s privatization of food service and produced the definitive report on the Lucasville riot, which helped pave the way for the addition of hundreds of Correction Officers to the system.

Since the demise of the CIIC and since the Kasich administration stopped sharing the information several years ago, OCSEA has struggled to obtain up-to-date, reliable information on staff assault rates.

“With a new leadership team in the Statehouse and a new Governor, we’ll wait to see where the CIIC lands,” said OCSEA Pres. Chris Mabe. “We’ll be watching closely to see if information that should be available to the public, such as staff assaults, is shared,” he said.

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