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Ohio governor revamping inspection system for state jails

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COLUMBUS (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine wants to improve the inspection system for the state’s jails.

He wants to increase the Ohio Bureau of Adult Detention staff from six to 15 employees. This will allow for the minimum standards inspection of all jails in Ohio each year. Right now, that’s done every other year.

An examination found the Ohio Bureau of Adult Detention is very understaffed and overworked.

“Those with the Ohio Bureau of Adult Detention have worked hard with limited resources to annually inspect local jails, but their examinations haven’t been as comprehensive as I believe they should be,” DeWine said. “It’s time that this division has the tools to effectively carry out its statutory obligations.”

The new staff will include a nurse to investigate medical complaints.

Last year, 44 of the 88 full-service jails were found to be noncompliant in regards to inmate health, living conditions and safety.

DeWine is also working to improve the overall jail inspection system with:

Enhanced transparency: The bureau will be required to provide a yearly report on jail inspections to judges and the county prosecutor, not just police or the sheriff’s office.
Standardized grand jury reports: Grand juries are required to examine the conditions of their county jail regularly but right now, those reports are not uniform. DeWine will work with jail leaders and Ohio’s Supreme Court to develop a standardized inspection report.
Unannounced inspections: Currently, on-site jail inspections are scheduled in advance. In the future, when inspectors come to the jail unannounced, they’ll be able to more accurately assess the conditions.
Mandatory critical incident reporting: Local jails will be required to report “critical incidents” (inmate deaths, inmate violence, use of force by officers, etc.) to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

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