COMMENTARY | Death row inmates are on the move in Ohio. The cost-saving and safety enhancement decision moves those sitting on death row closer to Lucasville prison where they will take their final walk. A total of 145 inmates with death sentences will be moved from Mansfield and Youngstown to the Chillicothe Correction Institution by the end of December, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Six high-security inmates involved in the 1993 Lucasville riot, four ill inmates and Ohio’s only woman on death row will remain at their present locations.
The location of Ohio’s death row has changed multiple times since the first centralized hanging in 1885, according to the Dispatch. Moving the inmates closer to Lucasville where a lethal injection will be administered decreases transportation costs and opportunity to escape. The current 260-mile trip to Lucsaville from Youngstown costs Ohio $1,200 each time an inmate is moved, according to the Dispatch. The trip requires an overnight stay for the transporting officers, adding to taxpayer expense. While the trip from Mansfield is shorter, is still costs the state $406 per transfer.
Moving death row makes sense in many ways, but will increase crowding and security concerns in Chillicothe. CCI has a mixture of security level descriptions, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website.
Facility statistics for December note 13 maximum security, 11 close security, 2,263 medium and 352 minimum security inmates are held inside the prison walls. The DRC website estimates the daily per inmate care costs at $45.94. Both the added care expense and expanded duties of the 340 security officers must be weighing on the mind of CCI Warden Norm Robinson.
Making room for the inmates was one of the reasons cited for the move, according to the Dispatch. Although the Youngstown and Mansfield prisons were probably crowded, there is not likely much spare space in Chillicothe either. The prison row on Route 104 is home to not only CCI but maximum security Ross Correctional Institution. The new death row boasts an outdoor recreation area instead of a vacant room with open windows.
Ohio DRC Director Gary Mohr is making the best choices with a limited budget and the death row relocation will save Ohio taxpayers money in the long run.