Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

                                               NEWS RELEASE                                                              


Prisons Director Outlines Budget Cuts

For Immediate Release                                                                                  July 5, 2002

(Columbus)--- Director Reginald A. Wilkinson of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) today unveiled his department’s plan for cutting $49.6 million from its original Fiscal Year 2003 budget -- $10 million pursuant to Senate Bill 261 and $39.6 million pursuant to Governor Bob Taft’s executive cut.

Director Wilkinson announced that the Orient Correctional Institution will remain closed through Fiscal Year 2003, as will all other housing units that were non-activated or de-activated. 

Wilkinson also announced the closing of additional housing units at four prisons, resulting in the reduction of more than 660 beds and 56 staff.  The prisons affected are as follows:   

Warren Correctional Institution (Lebanon) 128 beds 24 staff
North Central Correctional Institution (Marion) 224 beds 14 staff
Marion Correctional Institution 66 beds 6  staff
Allen Correctional Institution (Lima) 248 beds 12 staff

Director Wilkinson stated that he is optimistic the staff reductions can be achieved through attrition, and will not result in additional layoffs. 

In addition to the closure of the housing units, DRC will maintain across- the-board staffing vacancies in areas including security, medical, mental health, education, administration, parole and central office.  DRC will also reduce allotments for equipment, utilities, legal services and community corrections programs, and will reduce payments to its private prisons operator (Management Training Corporation).  

“We have laid the foundation for the past year and a half to deal with the budget problems that have affected our state,” said Director Wilkinson. “The actions I announce today should enable us to manage the additional budget cuts facing our Department.  However, we are hoping for another warm winter and other favorable circumstances to help us get by in these difficult budget times.”

Wilkinson said that many of the budget-cutting steps DRC has taken in the past 18 months will be continued into the next year.  Since January 2001 DRC has reduced its payroll by 1,849, including a reduction of 80 positions at Central Office, 119 in the Adult Parole Authority, and 1,650 in the prisons.  During this time DRC has eliminated 3,024 beds from use, including 1,636 beds at the closed Orient Correctional Institution. 

Wilkinson said the department has taken all steps to avoid closing another entire prison; however, DRC fiscal staff will continue to monitor expenditures very closely throughout the year to help determine if additional cost-cutting steps will be warranted in the future.      

For further information please contact the DRC Public Office at (614) 752-1150.