ACLU wants state help for privatized Ohio prison

COLUMBUS (AP) — A spike in criminal activity near a recently privatized Ohio prison prompted calls for state help today from the American Civil Liberties Union and local officials.

The ACLU said policing the perimeter of the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut along Lake Erie is overburdening local authorities and creating unsafe conditions. Eight people have been arrested attempting to get contraband into the facility in the past three days.

“We’ve got people throwing contraband over the fence, issues like that,” said Conneaut City Councilman Neil LaRusch. “What that does for our citizens is that brings a criminal element to our town. They’re bringing crack, they’re bringing marijuana, and they’re driving through our residential areas to do it. They don’t really care about getting caught.”

LaRusch said town leaders met today with representatives of the state, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which share jurisdiction inside the prison, to discuss their concerns. Conneaut has 10,000 people and 16 police officers.

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