WESTERVILLE, OH (WOIO) - The union representing the majority of employees in Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is questioning why the agency did not do more to secure the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution after the union repeatedly warned DR&C about major security flaws at the prison.
The union has put DR&C on notice about staffing levels being too low and inmate security levels not being adequate at the prison.
Two of the inmates who escaped Thursday evening had high-level security classifications but were being housed in a unit that had low security inmates in it.
In addition, on Wednesday, a day before the escape, union staff at the facility warned DR&C that an escape was being planned. One inmate was put in segregation as a result, but no additional measures were taken to secure the unit.
The facility also suffers from persistent low staffing levels. Since the Allen and Oakwood Correctional Institutions merged, 13 Correctional Officer posts were cut at Oakwood, leaving the Oakwood unit with a skeleton crew on all shifts.
An additional 10 posts were cut at the Allen unit. On a daily basis on each shift, Correction Officers from Oakwood are moved to assist the main complex at Allen.
In addition, Correction Officers are being pulled from their posts every day to assist with kitchen sanitation as a result of the deficiencies with the Aramark prison food contract.
Instead of funding security posts, DR&C has shifted resources to create non-security positions, such as unit managers. In addition, DR&C is in the planning phases of more major changes that the union fears would reduce security further.