State rep. calls for new law after inmate found falsifying early release documents

Ohio representative aims to close early release loophole

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - An Ohio state representative is calling for a new law after watching a Cleveland 19 investigation.

A local man found at least one inmate allegedly forging documents to get out of prison early.

The lawmaker we spoke to wants to make sure this never happens again.

State Representative Bill Patmon, a Democrat from Cleveland, is shocked to hear of a possible flaw in Ohio's prison system.

"There's an amendment coming, and I can see it coming after this story," Rep. Patmon said.

The brother of Eddie Rolland, who was killed by a hit and run driver in 2007, uncovered the issue.

Eddie's brother Jeff Cook used to work as a prison guard.

Cook says it was pretty common for inmates to pass around paperwork and forge them to try to get out early.

When his brother's killer, Mario Redding, asked for early release, Cook started digging through the court documents.

And he found Redding had forged some of them.

"It is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in recent history about how people are able to handle their own documents, the documents are not verified, and you don't know what exactly happened," Rep. Patmon said.

Cleveland19 is asking how many others may have found a way to beat the system too.

Rep. Patmon has a lot of questions himself.

"How many of these certificates were put out there, how many people were released, and what do they look like?" he asked, talking about the certificates.

"Where did you get the copier? How were you able to-- I mean, it's just unheard of!" he said.

Cleveland19 asked the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction how widespread the problem is.

A spokesperson responded Thursday, saying the educational department has taken steps to begin eliminating the process of issuing paper certificates.

Meanwhile Rep. Patmon says he's not waiting for answers to start working on new legislation.

"It's a ridiculous set of circumstances and you want to know why people are fed up with bureaucracies? And paying taxes to a government that is inept? This is a perfect example of that," he said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating.

Out of more than 20 documents, the DRC found three forged certificates.

We are still waiting to find out how the DRC tracks these prison training certificates to make sure they're accurate.

We reached out to the agency on Friday and we're still waiting to hear back.

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