State inspection finds no violations at Columbiana jail       



LISBON — The state inspected the Columbiana County jail after being tipped off about a controversial grand jury report critical of the facility and its operations.

David L. Hicks Jr., a regional jail inspector for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, concluded the accusations were unfounded.

The August county grand jury report, among other things, determined the jail was “totally unsafe,” that inmates were running the facility and some of the corrections officers were intimidated by them.

The ODRC received a copy of the grand jury report, which prompted a visit last month from Hicks.

Jail warden Mike Curley confirmed that Hicks performed an inspection after he called him the day before to say he would be there.

The report listed 11 points of concern.

“Based upon the totality of the information learned during this review, there appears to be no violations of the standards for jails in Ohio. Therefore, the concerns in the grand jury report dated Aug. 20, 2019, Columbiana County jail appear to be unfounded,” he concluded in an email dated Sept. 16.

Curley said at the time he was baffled how the grand jury reached most of its conclusions based on a 40-minute tour, half of which was spent in his office speaking with him.

During the 20-minute tour of the jail, the grand jurors never spoke with any staff members or inmates or entered any of the cellblocks.

State law requires that county jails be inspected by the grand jury a least four times per year, and its findings are reported to the county prosecutor’s office for inclusion in the grand jury report.

The grand jurors are to inquire about the treatment of inmates, their diet and accommodations. The findings are always brief, usually consisting of a series of bullet points, and never come with specifics to support conclusions.

Tom Giambroni is a reporter for the (Lisbon) Morning