Union Criticizes Ohio Decision to Close Hocking Correctional Unit

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The union representing Ohio prison employees says it’s disappointed by the state’s decision to close a prison unit employing about 110 people.

Christopher Mabe is president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association. He says job losses from the closing of Hocking Correctional Unit are a lot for a local community to absorb.  Mabe also says closing the unit could lead to overcrowding and violence in other prisons.

Hocking is a lower security facility considered part of the Southeastern Correctional Complex, just outside of Nelsonville.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Wednesday the employees will be offered jobs at other Ohio prisons, including a facility in nearby Lancaster.  A spokesman said Wednesday the prison unit is Ohio’s most expensive, costing $65 a day per inmate to operate compared to $21 at similar facilities.

The unit’s 430 inmates will be moved to other prisons by the end of March.

The state says Hocking is Ohio’s most expensive correctional facility.

Ohio’s current prison population is 49,517 inmates, about 900 fewer inmates than a year ago.