Ohio

Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC)

Budget

$447,000 (FY 2021)

  • The CIIC’s budget allocation has been flat since 2006, but the agency has recently been able to carry over sufficient funds year-to-year to be stable at the current budget through at least 2026.

Staffing

4 staff members

  • The CIIC has been understaffed in recent years, with only one staff member as recently as 2018, but as of 2020 was fully staffed with an Executive Director, Deputy Director, and two Analysts.

State Prison Profile

Ohio has 28 state prison facilities subject to CIIC oversight and incarcerates approximately 51,000 people in state prisons. The state prison system is run by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), though three facilities inspected by CIIC are privately-run. CIIC also has oversight responsibility for three youth facilities.

Authority

Ohio Statutes 9.07, 103.71-74, 103.76-79, 2967.18, 5120.034, 5139.14, 5145.162, 5120.173, 5120.51

  • Structure: CIIC is a bipartisan, bicameral subcommittee of the Legislative Service Commission. Four members are appointed by the President of the Senate, and four members are appointed by the Speaker of the House; not more than 2 appointed by either chamber can be from the same party. (103.71)
  • Authorized Activities: CIIC is responsible for establishing and running a program of biannual inspections of ODRC facilities and private correctional facilities in Ohio. By statute, inspections must include attendance at one meal time and one rehabilitative or educational program. CIIC must report its findings, along with an analysis of each facility’s grievance procedures, to the General Assembly. (103.73)
  • Facility and Information Access: CIIC is given “golden key” access to correctional facilities for the purpose of inspections, allowed to enter any facility without notice, upon approval by the CIIC Chairman. ODRC is required to submit projections of Ohio prison population to CIIC every six months, but the empowering statute does not otherwise address CIIC’s access to records or other ODRC information. (103.73, 5120.51)

Activities

The CIIC is a legislative organization, meaning that the committee is made up of state legislators working with a professional staff, instead of a separate or independent government agency. The CIIC works to monitor conditions in Ohio correctional facilities by conducting regular inspections and evaluations and communicating with incarcerated individuals, state legislators, prison staff, ODRC leaders, and other stakeholders. 

  • Inspections: CIIC inspects ODRC facilities on an annual basis using a combination of in-person inspection, discussions with staff, data reviews, and anonymous surveys of staff and incarcerated people. CIIC assesses facilities across five areas (safety & security, health & wellbeing, fair treatment, rehabilitation & reentry, and fiscal accountability) with 28 sub-categories. Summary ratings for inspected institutions are available in biennial reports. During the period that staffing was reduced from 2016-2019, CIIC inspected facilities and published annual reports, but was not able to report on each individual facility inspection. 
  • Correspondence: CIIC receives communications from legislative constituents, incarcerated people, corrections staff, and other stakeholders by mail, email, phone, and through its website. These channels provide opportunities for corrections staff to communicate with CIIC anonymously. The Committee responds to concerns with any appropriate findings and resources, and tracks issues raised in correspondence to understand concerns about the Ohio prison system. CIIC receives roughly 5,000 constituent inquiries a year. 

Reports

Biennial Reports given to the General Assembly publicly available here. Institution inspection reports publicly available here

  • CIIC institution inspection reports are reviewed by the warden of the institution in question and the Committee Chairman before publication. 

Organizational History

CIIC was founded in 1977 to give the Legislature more insight into ODRC practices and to provide preventative and monitoring oversight of ODRC facilities. In 2016, members of the Ohio legislature took issue with the CIIC’s work and moved to dismantle the Committee if the Director did not resign. The Director at the time resigned to preserve the CIIC, but many staff left the Committee and were not replaced in following years. The CIIC was subsequently short-staffed, at one point retaining only a single staff member. In 2017, an attempt was made to move responsibility for inspecting Ohio prisons to the Inspector General’s office, which would have eliminated the public reporting produced by CIIC. In 2019, however, CIIC hired staff, and by 2020 staffing levels were at their current levels, which the CIIC considers fully staffed for current responsibilities. 

Special Note

If ODRC determines that there is an overcrowding emergency in its facilities and does not have another way to address the overcrowding, it must tell CIIC about the overcrowding emergency. CIIC is responsible for reviewing that determination and can make recommendations to the Governor about reducing prison terms for people who are incarcerated to alleviate overcrowding. (2967.18)