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Attacks on guards rise at prisons in Ohio

– The state corrections department reports that serious assaults on prison staffers are up, and a union says more corrections officers are needed.

Incidents resulting in serious injuries to prison staff doubled from Jan. 1, 2007, to last Sept. 30. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction released the report. “Our members knew from firsthand experience that the reality on the ground was different from what (the department) was reporting,” said Jimmy Adkins, head of the corrections section for the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.

“We think this report is a wake-up call to the Kasich administration that they need to take a serious look at some of the recommendations this union has made, including an increase in correction officers and other correction employees,” Adkins said.

The number of corrections officers has dropped from 7,028 in January 2011 to 6,279 this month, or down nearly 11 percent. Prison population fell 1.5 percent, to 49,993, in the same period.

“We need more eyes on the inmates and more feet on the beat,” union president Christopher Mabe said.

Other forms of assaults such as spitting and throwing bodily fluids at prison staffers also increased, up to 500 last year. But the number of serious inmate-on-inmate assaults fell last year, to 963.