Access to Institutions

Reported concerns and deficiencies regarding prison operations, conditions and programs were brought to the attention of Legislators on a daily basis through phone calls, letters and in-person visits to their offices. One Legislator was reportedly turned away when he requested to enter the Ohio Penitentiary to observe conditions firsthand. That may have been the reason why, more than anything else, the legislative proposal to create the CIIC ensured access to the prisons. It specified access to any prison and “any part thereof,” “at any time,” “without prior notice.” That portion of the Statute has been amended slightly to specify access “during normal business hours,” unless for cause as determined by the Committee Chairman. The amendment was in response to complaints from the prison staff that a Committee Member conducted inspections after the workday in the Legislature. After travel time to the prisons, it was not uncommon for the Legislator to arrive in the evening, spending four or more hours on site.
103.73. Duties of Inspection Committee.

  1. The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee shall do all of the following:
  1. Subject to division (C) of this section, establish and maintain a continuing program of inspection of each state correctional institution used for the custody, control, training, and rehabilitation of persons convicted of crime and of each private correctional facility. Subject to division (C) this section, the Committee may inspect any local correctional institution used for the same purposes. Subject to division(C) of this section, the Committee, and each Member of the Committee,for the purpose of making an inspection pursuant to this section, shall have access to any state or local correctional institution, to any private correctional facility, or to any part of the institution or facility and shall not be required to give advance notice of, or to make prior arrangements before conducting, an inspection.
  2. Evaluate and assist in the development of programs to improve the condition or operation of correctional institutions;
  3. Prepare a report for submission to the succeeding General Assembly of the findings the Committee makes in its inspections and of any programs that have been proposed or developed to improve the condition or operation of the correctional institutions in the state. The report shall contain a separate evaluation of the inmate grievance procedure at each state correctional institution. The Committee shall submit the report to the succeeding General Assembly within fifteen days after commencement of that General Assembly’s first regular session.