Toledo Correctional warden addresses assaults - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Toledo Correctional warden addresses assaults

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TOLEDO, Ohio -

The 13abc I-Team goes straight to the top for answers about a recent rash of violence inside the Toledo Correctional Institution. The I-Team's Shaun Hegarty talked with warden Ed Sheldon Wednesday morning.

There have been six officers assaulted in five incidents since March at TOCI.  Sheldon says despite this recent rash of assaults, the number of assaults are down.

There are over 1400 inmates at TOCI, nearly 200 are level four, maximum security.  For the first time ever those inmates are housed in Toledo. 

"There's a gestation period when you have this new population. It creates stress for staffing and inmates.  So there's a certain amount of time it's going to take for everyone to adjust to this new mission," said Sheldon.

They arrived in February as part of a statewide prison restructuring.  So the I-team asked Sheldon if with their addition, are correctional officers here are less safe?  He says the numbers show a decrease in assaults but he added the following: 

"All inmates are dangerous. I don't care if it's level one, level two, every inmate can be dangerous and they need to be treated that way.  It's very important that staff are constantly aware of their surroundings and treat the inmate as such because they are unpredictable a lot of times," said Sheldon. 

Here are the numbers according the prison officials.  From July of 2011 until now, there were 65 assaults.  22 of those were inmate against staff member.  43 were inmate against inmate

From July of 2010 until June of 2011 there were 67 assaults.  37 were inmate against staff assaults and 30 were inmate against inmate.  As for those max inmates, from February through now, there were four assaults by level four inmates and seven by level three inmates. 

"I take each one of these assaults personally. I'm the one at the hospital with the family members or loved ones trying to explain to them why they're injured," said Sheldon. 

Sheldon denies any claim that he does not care about the welfare of corrections officers.  He points to things like a better security camera system coming online in July as another way safety is being enhanced.

The union for the corrections officers has said for a while now that the prison is understaffed. 

The warden says he'd love to have more staff members as well, but he understands the budget concerns in Columbus.  He did say they added eight officers are part of the addition of the max security inmates.

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