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Guards Union: We Warned Officials Before T.J. Lane Prison Break

The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association says officials at the Allen Correctional Institution in Lima failed to do enough to secure the facility.
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A union representing Ohio guards says it warned officials about a planned escape the day before Thursday night’s prison break in which three inmates — including convicted killer Thomas “T.J.” Lane — broke free. While one inmate at the Allen Correctional Institution in Lima was put in segregation at the minimum/medium security prison as a precaution, no additional measures were taken, according to the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.

“While we are proud of the team of Correction Officers and special teams that quickly apprehended the escapees last night, we have serious concerns about security at this facility and why more was not done after we warned [Department of Rehabilitation & Correction] officials about some major security risks,” union President Christopher Mabe said in a statement Friday.

Lane and two other inmates climbed over a perimeter fence around 7:30 p.m. using a makeshift ladder, NBC affiliate WKYC reported. One of the inmates, Lindsey Bruce, was captured minutes later. Lane, 19, who is serving a life sentence for killing three Chardon High School students in 2012, was captured almost six hours later about 100 yards from the prison. The third inmate, Clifford Opperud, was also captured early Friday. State corrections officials didn’t immediately respond to the unions claims about “major security flaws” at Allen. The union says the facility also suffers from a persistently low staffing level.

A recent state report found the prison was overcrowded, and that its population of 1,635 inmates was 217 more than Allen was designed to handle.


— Erik Ortiz, with The Associated Press