YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – State Rep. Bob Hagan now has a better idea of why inmates at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown staged a demonstration last week.
On Friday, Hagan, D-Youngstown, met with the warden, reviewed incident video and personally talked with six inmates. The entire meeting took about 2.5 hours. He is part of the Ohio Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.
He said there are three issues inmates are concerned about: Health care, food quality and high prices at the commissary.
“Very difficult for one inmate who made $27 a month to pay $4.50 for a jar of peanut butter and their costs were really just knocking them out,” Hagan said.
The prices are set by Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the prison.
Hagan said prisoners are entitled to basic human rights, and as a member of the committee he has to make sure employees, inmates and people on the outside are treated fairly and protected.
One of Hagan’s concerns was why people on the outside did not know what was going on during the demonstration. The warden also promised Hagan he would let him know of any incidents.
There will be a follow up visit in December to see if improvements have been made.
“To make sure there are no more uprisings, that people are in a peaceful way, those that protest are in fact given the opportunity to in fact say and do what they have to do to make sure they are treated fairly,” Hagan said.
He said he watched video of the non-violent demonstration several times and counted three times the warden talked with inmates in the yard.