The president of the union’s Department of Youth Services Assembly is speaking out about the union’s concerns with a potential merger of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and DYS, the agency that houses Ohio’s felony youth offenders.
Karl Wilkins, speaking to the media on behalf of the union members he represents who work in Ohio's three DYS facilities, said the adult and juvenile prison systems should “remain separate given their totally different missions.” Wilkins is a Youth Specialist at Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility.
“Not that they (the adult prisons) don’t work on rehabilitation, but that’s our core mission. We’ve tried to become a kinder, gentler agency,” Wilkins said to the Columbus Dispatch.
Despite the rumors, the Kasich administration is remaining tight lipped on the idea that continues to garner criticism. The Dispatch, however, says that the administration is studying the possibility of merging the two agencies, possibly during the upcoming budget cycle.
Alphonse Gerhardstein, a Cincinnati lawyer who sued the state over the treatment of youth offenders, says the merger would be harmful to federal-court oversight that has led to improvements in how the state handles its youth offenders. The Ohio Juvenile Justice Alliance said it would be a “step backwards.”
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