Prison report: Inmates said they had greater freedom at facility

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After the escape of Chardon high school shooter T.J. Lane and two other inmates, questions surrounding the Allen County correctional facility where they were housed are being raised.

Lane was given the highest security rating possible by the state department of corrections. Because he was a first-time offender, Lane was given a security rating of 3 and placed in protective custody. The protective custody unit is housed at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution and is where the state places prisoners from high-profile cases and those who may be harmed by other inmates. The rest of the prison is home to level one and two offenders – what the state considers low to medium security.

During interviews Thursday and Friday, Warden Kevin Jones was pressed for answers as to how the trio escaped custody.

“Obviously, I am not happy that it happened. I mean, no warden in my position would like for something like this to happen, but I am happy to announce that we have Mr. Lane back in custody,” Jones said.

An inspection of the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution was conducted in April of this year. The prison was found to be overcrowded, at 115 percent capacity. The state noted an “ongoing concern” for prisoners in protective custody.

The report stated that security management in the unit “remains a concern in terms of how the higher security inmates are handled.”

Part of the state document includes prisoners’ observations of life in Allen County.

Prisoners stated in the report that they have greater freedom of movement than in other prisons and that they liked “the freedom of walking the yard to get a peace of mind whenever you want.” The three escapees were in that yard when they scaled the fence, ran across a building roof and out to short-lived freedom.

To view the complete inspection report, click here.

To view the inspection brief, click here.

View the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution facility page here.

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