Watchtowers at the only two Ohio state prisons that have them are targeted for shift changes or closing as part of the state budget cuts, says the Middletown (Oh.) Journal. A recent plan by Gov. John Kasich would change the number of shifts at one watchtower at the Lebanon Correctional Institution, a close-security prison, and close six watchtowers at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, a maximum-security prison.
Kasich said the state could save more than $2.1 million by closing the watchtowers. A prison system spokeswoman said staffed perimeter towers are an obsolete means of maintaining security. “All of our close- and high-security prisons have state-of-the-art security systems and protocols,” she said. “Both Lucasville and Lebanon facilities have redundant fence-alarm systems, in addition to an armed, roving vehicle that patrols the perimeters of the prisons.” Kasich has made other proposals on where cuts could be made in the correction department’s budget to help close the state’s estimated $8 billion shortfall.