Living On Lockdown In An Ohio Women's Prison

Apr 10, 2016
Women's Voices dayton correctional institution
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Melody Williams is serving life without parole. Because of the severity of her crime she was sent to a supermax/maximum security facility, and spent the first year and a half of her sentence in lock-down.

In this audio story, Melody talks to fellow Dayton Correctional Institution resident Shannon Evans about coming to prison and how she coped with being locked up for 21 hours a day.

Highlights from the audio:

For One Mother, Visiting Her Daughter In Prison Brings Back A Painful Memory

Mar 6, 2016
Women's Voices From DCI - Logo 1
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Shannon Evans is in the first year of a four-year term at Dayton Correctional Institution (DCI). She came to prison after falling into the depths of a heroin addiction. Previously, she’d been a schoolteacher and what she describes as a “goody-two-shoes.”

In this audio story, Evans talks to fellow DCI resident Melody Williams about how a piece of her own family history came full circle when she was sent to prison.

Highlights from the audio:

Numbers Of Youth In Ohio Prisons Down

Jan 8, 2016

The group that keeps tabs on Ohio’s prisons for state lawmakers says there are fewer young people behind bars. The Correction Institution Inspection Committee said the number of teenagers sent to Ohio’s adult prisons took a huge dip to its lowest numbers in 15 years.


The group’s executive director, Joanna Saul, says this represents an important institutional shift.



WYSO has started a radio class at Dayton Correctional Institution (DCI), a women's prison on the west side of Dayton. Our Community Voices courses teach people to tell their own stories; this one does that with people who are incarcerated at one of just three women's prisons in the state.

Here's some of the audio we've already produced at DCI: 


A new study shows Ohio as a national leader in diverting juveniles to lower-cost community programs instead of prison.

The national study by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention shows the number of young people in Ohio sent to prison dropped 80 percent from 1997 to 2013. Figures show the national average of juvenile incarceration rates for that time dropped 55 percent.

Advocates For Reducing Prison Population Challenge Ohio Legislature

Oct 8, 2015

Advocates who want to decrease the prison population in Ohio say reforming the criminal justice system is just one step—first, they’ll have to put an end to an influx of new bills that include prison time.

A NAMI event featured training scenarios based on real-life situations in which law enforcement interacts with people in mental health crises. police prisons
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio’s prison system has become the state’s largest mental health provider, and the state is hoping to work with advocates in the mental health community to figure out how to deal with that.

Director of Rehabilitation and Corrections Gary Mohr started in the prison system in 1976. He says in those almost 40 years, the growth in the number of inmates coming into the system with mental health issues has shocked him.


A state representative from Miami Township is calling on the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to investigate Dayton Correctional Institution after a recent state inspection of the women’s prison turned up multiple troubling allegations.

Inmates At Ohio Prison Strike To Protest Programming Cuts

Mar 27, 2015

Inmates at Ohio's highest security prison have entered the second week of a hunger strike protesting recreation and programming restrictions that include a ban on religious gatherings.

A prisons department spokeswoman said nine inmates at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown were continuing to refuse meals as of Friday, in a protest that began March 19. The prison houses Ohio's super-maximum security lockdown.

Southeastern Correctional Institution prison
Brian Flanaga / Flickr/Creative Commons

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich's proposed $72 billion budget would boost the number of state workers helping prison inmates beat drug and alcohol addiction.

The proposal shifts such treatment from the state prisons agency to the department that handles addiction services and boosts the number of staff members involved, currently about 120.

Tracy Plouck (plowk), director of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, says that while nearly six of every 10 inmates need some kind of addictions treatment, fewer than one in 10 receive it.