COLUMBUS– Correctional Institution Inspection Committee Members State Senators Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus), Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) and State Reps. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) Vice Chair, Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) today called for a full investigation and accounting of the death of Michael McDaniel while in the care of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC). The Democratic members also called for a hearing to hear directly from ODRC regarding the death of Mr. McDaniel and the steps being taken to hold those guilty accountable and to prevent future violence.
Their request comes after the ODRC Director Annette Chambers Smith held a press conference Tuesday regarding the death of inmate Michael McDonald in February at the Correction Reception Center in Pickaway County. Security footage released by the department showed Michael McDaniel, 55, collapsing on his own and then being taken down to the ground at least 16 times before he eventually died. Disciplinary actions are underway for six correctional officers and two medical staffers.
“The incident involving Mr. Michael McDaniel is deeply tragic and troubling,” said Senator Craig. “It is vitally important and part of the CIIC’s fiduciary responsibility that we ensure transparency and accountability when handling delicate situations such as
this one. It should be the number one priority of CIIC to ensure that Ohio’s correctional facilities are safe and secure for both those residing and working there.”
“As a former corrections officer, I understand the difficulty of this job, and I am very aware of the challenges inside the correctional facilities and system,” said Senator Williams. “However, the recently released prison security footage clearly shows the unacceptable treatment of Mr. McDaniel by corrections staff. It is disturbing and demonstrates a flagrant abuse of authority. Prison staffers’ initial refusal to administer proper medical care is as disturbing as the abuse. It is critical that the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections and prison personnel come before the CIIC as soon as possible to account for the events that led to Mr. McDaniel’s death.”
“The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee must engage with ODRC leadership to get to the truth of this wholly preventable tragedy and to work to create real solutions so this never happens again,” said Rep. Miller. “Our corrections system needs to serve everyone with dignity and respect – from victims, to employees, to those under its supervision. It did not serve Michael McDaniel. It must. ”
“The bottom line is what happened to Michael McDaniel is an unacceptable tragedy. It is essential that those responsible are held accountable,” said Rep. Denson. “The dignity and life of incarcerated individuals must be respected. The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee must help ensure that this is true throughout Ohio’s justice system.”
The CIIC is a legislative bipartisan, bicameral committee charged with inspecting the state correctional facilities and serves as a resource to the legislators. The CIIC collaborates with many criminal justice partners to ensure transparency and to be a responsible agency in providing information for the General Assembly.