Criminal Justice Press Release

07.18.13

ACLU Calls on ODRC to Stop Cutting Power to Ohio Prisons

Restricting Prison Electricity in the Midst of a Heat Wave is a Dangerous Gamble with Safety and Security

CLEVELAND – Today the ACLU of Ohio called on the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) to put an end to their practice of shutting down the electricity at Ohio correctional institutions in exchange for money from KOREnergy Ltd. a private energy contractor.

“Times are difficult and government agencies are looking for revenue anywhere they can find it,” said ACLU Director of Communications and Public Policy Mike Brickner. “However, this plan is dangerous. It compromises safety and security, not only for the incarcerated, but for the people who staff these facilities.”

In the midst of a heat wave, media reports indicate that up to 24 of Ohio’s correctional institutions have made agreements to restrict electricity during peak hours, cutting power to lights and fans and raising the temperature to nearly 90 degrees in some areas.

The reports come on the heels of yet another incident at the privately run Lake Erie Correctional Institution (LaECI). The incident reportedly involved dozens of inmates in multiple fights in the prison yard. Prison officials have reportedly brought in emergency staff to regain control of the facility and are conducting a prison-wide shakedown of inmates.

“These problems at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution and other prisons have shown that these facilities are unpredictable even under normal circumstances,” added Brickner. “Cutting the power during a heat wave to make money is very short-sighted. Long term, it is a recipe for trouble.”