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Reps. Humphrey, Miller Release Statement on Investigation Exposing Extreme Violence, Deplorable Living Conditions at Ohio Youth Prisons

November 14, 2023
Adam C. Miller News

COLUMBUS – State Reps. Latyna M. Humphrey (D-Columbus) and Adam Miller (D-Columbus) today urgently called for action in response to the disturbing conditions revealed in Ohio's juvenile detention centers by a collaborative investigation of journalists from The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Columbus Dispatch, Akron Beacon Journal, Canton Repository, and other newspapers. The eight-month investigation uncovered severe failures in Ohio's youth prison and juvenile detention centers, including a surge in riots and violent assaults, and a shortage of support and behavioral health staff.

"I see this as a major two-tiered issue. First and foremost, the most important issue is the safety and livelihood of these children. Second, while I’m sure there are staff performing their duties to the best of their abilities, the fact is that there simply aren’t enough qualified staff, so we’re witnessing the predictable result – inadequate care and neglect,” said Rep. Humphrey.

“The Department of Youth Services should be held accountable for its actions and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction must support competitive wages and safe staffing ratios, otherwise corrections system retention problems will continue, ” said Rep. Miller. “Ohio needs to take a proactive approach to prevent youth violence. We need more after-school programs, drop-in centers, de-escalation training, and a comprehensive plan to address juvenile mental health. And we need educators, parents, and faith-based leaders to come together with creative solutions.”

Referencing previous Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC) reports, Rep. Humphrey stressed that similar issues have been raised with the bipartisan committee staff, consistently providing guidance and research-based suggestions. The responsibility, however, rests with the warden and support staff to heed these suggestions and implement improvements. 

"These children are sent to DYS to be rehabilitated and not further pushed into cycles of recidivism," said Rep. Humphrey.

“These reports only confirm what we already know; putting kids behind bars without any additional support is only going to cause more problems. Either we invest up front in their rehabilitation, or we pay for it as a society later,” said Rep. Miller.

Reps. Humphrey and Miller both serve on the CIIC, a bipartisan, joint-legislative committee providing external oversight of Ohio's prisons and juvenile correctional facilities. The nonpartisan committee staff assists the CIIC in fulfilling its duties, and published reports are accessible on Institution Reports.