Beaten Ohio inmate dies in prison's third killing in a year

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 22, 2013 8:57 PM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio prisoner who was beaten with baseball bats by his fellow inmates has died, becoming the third man killed in just the past year at an overcrowded state prison in northeastern Ohio, officials said on Thursday.

James Oglesby, 32, who was serving a life sentence for aggravated murder and kidnapping, died Wednesday at a Toledo hospital, said Ricky Seyfang, spokeswoman for the state corrections department. He was beaten Sunday in the recreation yard at Toledo Correctional Institution, Seyfang said.

"Three homicides in one facility is high," said Joanna Saul, executive director of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, a state legislative group that monitors prisons.

Ohio's entire prison system had one confirmed homicide in 2010, two in 2011 and three in 2012, Saul said. With Oglesby's death, the Toledo prison has had three homicides since September 2012, she said.

Saul said her group had just inspected the prison, which she said has been plagued by high employee turnover and gang violence in part due to overcrowding. Ohio's prison system has been operating at about 130 percent of capacity, she said.

The Toledo prison was built in 2000 to house 950 prisoners in individual cells. Inmates have been doubled up and more than 200 maximum security inmates added since 2010, raising its population to nearly 1,300, according to Saul and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction records.

Violent attacks between inmates have increased 113 percent, and inmate attacks on staff by 73 percent since the prison went to two inmates per cell, Saul said.

"Toledo has a high employee turnover rate and that means less experienced officers dealing with the challenges of a higher security population," Saul said.

Seyfang said Oglesby's killing is under investigation. He had been transferred to the prison in February, she said.

(Editing by David Bailey, Greg McCune and Ken Wills)