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McNally to CCA: Why wasn’t city told of prison incident as it occurred?

Published: Fri, August 15, 2014 @ 12:04 a.m.

Mayor to meet with CCA officials

By Burton Speakman



Mayor John A. McNally is meeting today with representatives from Corrections Corporation of America to talk about the company’s obligation to report information to the city in “unusual events.”

McNally said he certainly thinks the event, which started about 2 p.m. Tuesday and continued to 4 a.m. Wednesday, in which 140 inmates at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center on Hubbard Road refused to leave the prison yard in protest, qualifies as an unusual event.

CCA, based in Tennessee, owns NEOCC, and is one of two privately owned prisons in the state.

The city found out about the incident when the aunt of an inmate at NEOCC contacted the police department, and the department contacted the prison.

“The way things happened isn’t the way it’s supposed to happen,” McNally said. “We want to remind CCA of their obligations to the city under the terms of the agreement.”

It’s especially important to do this now with a new police chief and law director, the mayor added. The agreements have been in place for 12 or 13 years, he said.

After the meeting, McNally said he believes “the city will receive the type of notification it should from CCA in the future.”

The notification issue hasn’t come up because there haven’t been major issues at the prison, he said.

Up to this point, CCA representatives have declined to provide an explanation for the inmates’ refusal to leave the prison yard.

State Rep. Robert Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, said the prison is investigating the incident.

Hagan is a member of the Ohio General Assembly’s Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.

Hagan went to the prison Wednesday and attempted to speak with the inmates but was rebuffed so he wouldn’t interfere with the prison’s investigation.

The American Civil Liberties Union is working against attempts by CCA to secure a new federal contract to house inmates at the prison. The pact expires May 15, 2015.

Mike Brickner from the ACLU in Cleveland said the organization has been made aware of issues at the penal institutions, including a lack of programming for inmates, little training for staff, poor food and a lack of understanding of the rules by both inmates and staff.

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