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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Union: Guard taken hostage was left alone with Ohio inmates

Parkersburg NewsA female prison guard was taken hostage by a male inmate after she was left alone in the library of a central Ohio prison, according to the union representing state corrections officers.

The guard was by herself after a second officer was pulled off for duties at the Mansfield Correctional Institution chapel, said Doug Mosier, a Mansfield guard and president of the facility's Ohio Civil Service Employees Association chapter.

Once the second officer was pulled away, the library should have been closed and inmates returned to their cells, he said. The room was a legal library where inmates are allowed to do research on their cases.

"Obviously, the inmate saw an opportunity and took it," Mosier said Monday. The union didn't know how many total inmates were in the library.

It was unclear exactly how the guard was taken hostage. Most inmates were heading back to their cells for a daily headcount at the time, Mosier said.

The guard, an experienced officer, was released safely and is doing well, Mosier said. The situation started at 10:30 a.m. and ended about 9 p.m. Sunday, but the prison remained on lockdown Monday, said JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

She wouldn't release the name of the guard or inmate citing the ongoing investigation.

The union previously filed a grievance over the practice of leaving areas understaffed when guards are pulled away for other duties. Current policies prevent non-guards such as social workers and teachers from being left alone with inmates. The union wants that expanded to include corrections officers. continue reading...

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