Food and health care issues behind Youngstown prison protest - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

UPDATED

Food and health care issues behind Youngstown prison protest

Posted: Updated:
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

State Representative Robert Hagan appeared at the gates of Youngstown's private prison Wednesday afternoon to make a surprise visit following a demonstration by inmates that sent the lockup into lockdown.

Hagan, who is a legislative member of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, was accompanied by a Spanish language interpreter.

Hagan's visit follows Tuesday's demonstration by 140 inmates who refused orders to leave a recreation yard. Prison officials said that the situation was resolved peacefully overnight when inmates returned to their cells.

He said he was not permitted to speak with inmates, but that he received some information about the issue behind the demonstration.

"They did indicate that there were three issues that jumped out at them, was the commissary prices, food prices were too high. That the health care was difficult to come by, and that they had some problem with a couple of issues. A couple of people that were either corrections officers or people that worked there," said Hagan.

While Hagan was able to obtain some information, he felt the Warden shut him down when he asked to talk to someone representing the inmates.

"To me it just smells. It stinks of somebody may be hiding something. And, that's why I went over there. I just wanted the truth," said Hagan.

Youngstown police became aware of the situation when a woman called them to report that she had received a phone call from her nephew, a prison inmate, who said that a riot was going on at the facility.

Police contacted the prison warden, who said there was no riot. The warden explained the situation to police, and said he did not need assistance from YPD. 

Youngstown Mayor John McNally also had serious concerns about a breakdown in communication. McNally said his concern is the safety of the community. So, he sent the acting police chief and two officers to the prison to talk with the Warden to find out why the city was not notified when the incident began.

"The fact is the facility has an obligation to notify the city in certain circumstances, what's occurring. I don't think that really took place the way it's supposed to happen. We should not have to track things down," said McNally.

"Police chief should have definitely been notified. It's a security matter, and I guess they figured it was still their prisoners, were in-house, but you never know when things are going to change," said Annie Gillam, 1st Ward Councilwoman.

A statement from CCA said that at no time did any incidents of violence occur, and the community was not in danger. All staff and inmates are accounted for.

Prison officials said the facility remains in lockdown as a precautionary measure while an investigation is conducted.

Facility management notified the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and said they kept officials apprised through the duration of the incident.

21 News has asked the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center's corporate headquarters in Tennessee why the prison in Youngstown took four hours to alert the media. So far, 21 News has not received a response to that question and others 21 News had asked.

The privately owned prison houses about 1,500 federal inmates.  Operators of the facility are seeking to renew a contract for those inmates to prevent their transfer to a prison out of state, which could result in the elimination of about 400 jobs.

McNally, Hagan and Gillam support the contract that would keep about 400 jobs, but Gillam wants a review of the protocol.

"But there are some things that are going to have to be shored up if they are going to stay. We're going to have to look into some arrangements and procedures," said Gillam.

  • More From wfmj.comHot ClicksMore>>

  • Accepting rights award, Kaepernick decries 'lawful lynching'

    Accepting rights award, Kaepernick decries 'lawful lynching'

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:18 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:18:09 GMT
    (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP). FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 file photo, a Woodrow Wilson High School football player stands while some of his teammates kneel during the national anthem before their game against Highland High Sc...(Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP). FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 file photo, a Woodrow Wilson High School football player stands while some of his teammates kneel during the national anthem before their game against Highland High Sc...
    Human rights organization Amnesty International has honored former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with its Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018, lauding his peaceful protests against racial inequality.More >>
    Human rights organization Amnesty International has honored former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with its Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018, lauding his peaceful protests against racial inequality.More >>
  • Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'

    Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:16 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:16:37 GMT
    (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File). FILE - In a Monday, April 16, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, center, leaves federal court, in New York. Federal prosecutors said they can give President Donald Trump's person...(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File). FILE - In a Monday, April 16, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, center, leaves federal court, in New York. Federal prosecutors said they can give President Donald Trump's person...
    President Donald Trump says he doesn't expect personal lawyer Michael Cohen to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen's business dealings.More >>
    President Donald Trump says he doesn't expect personal lawyer Michael Cohen to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen's business dealings.More >>
  • Thousands sing 'Happy Birthday' to Queen Elizabeth II

    Thousands sing 'Happy Birthday' to Queen Elizabeth II

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:16 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:16:04 GMT
    (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP). Britain's Queen Elizabeth raises her glass during speeches at The Queen's Dinner, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018.(Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP). Britain's Queen Elizabeth raises her glass during speeches at The Queen's Dinner, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018.
    Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 92nd birthday with a star-studded concert in London.More >>
    Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 92nd birthday with a star-studded concert in London.More >>
  • More NewsMore>>

  • Barbara Bush was 'first lady of the greatest generation'

    Barbara Bush was 'first lady of the greatest generation'

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:18 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:18:59 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston.
    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.More >>
    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.More >>
  • One man and two women in custody after standoff with Warren PD

    One man and two women in custody after standoff with Warren PD

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:07 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:07:36 GMT

    After nearly a two-hour standoff with police, a Warren man and two women are arrested after the Warren Police Department served a warrant. 

    More >>

    After nearly a two-hour standoff with police, a Warren man and two women are arrested after the Warren Police Department served a warrant. 

    More >>
  • Austintown Police Department phone lines back up

    Austintown Police Department phone lines back up

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:05 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:05:14 GMT

    The phone lines at the Austintown Police Department are back up Saturday evening. 

    More >>

    The phone lines at the Austintown Police Department are back up Saturday evening. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms