After weeks of defending an embattled program allowing inmates to work at the Governor’s Residence, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland suspended the program yesterday when two inmates were suspected of drinking at the mansion, the Columbus Dispatch reports. One inmate was legally drunk after returning to the Pickaway Correctional Institution yesterday, and another also appeared to have been drinking.
It was not clear how the inmates got access to the alcohol or what they were drinking. Liquor typically is kept in a locked cabinet at the residence, although there sometimes is beer or wine in the kitchen refrigerator. The governor ordered “a full and thorough external review” of the program, which dates to the 1950s. The review will be led by former state prison director Reginald Wilkinson. The incident comes after Strickland initiated changes in a program that has been heavily criticized after an inspector general’s report concluded it had “veered badly off course” with lax inmate supervision. The report said ex-Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor lied about canceling a sting to catch a contraband drop at the residence in January. She denied that, but the Senate voted this week not to confirm her.