Suspects in Ohio CO stabbing moved to supermax facility
A CO union is calling for a shakeup of the leadership of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, where the stabbing occurred
By Marty Schladen
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Two inmates suspected in last week's brutal stabbing of a prison guard have been moved to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown — the "supermax" facility where the guard's union says the inmates should have been all along.
The union is calling for a shakeup of the leadership of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville, the prison where the stabbing took place.
"We need an overhaul of leadership at Lucasville," said Chris Mabe, president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.
Corrections officer Matthew Mathias was in stable condition Tuesday in the intensive care unit at a Huntington, West Virginia hospital, said Sally Meckling, a spokeswoman for the prison workers' union.
A week earlier, on Feb. 20, Mathias was in an infirmary when he was stabbed by two inmates with metal objects, according to an incident report by the State Highway Patrol, which is investigating the incident. A Gofundme page for Mathias says he was stabbed 32 times with 10-inch shanks.
The Highway Patrol has said it won't identify the suspected inmates until they're charged. But the union has identified them as Casey Pigge, 30, and Greg Reinke, 37, both of whom were initially incarcerated for murder. Meckling has said Reinke has attacked other inmates since he was imprisoned in 2004 and Pigge has been convicted of killing two of his fellow prisoners since 2016.
"Common sense would tell me these were the worst-of-the-worst offenders," Mabe said Tuesday.
He said the inmates who attacked Mathias should have been in the Ohio State Penitentiary — a newer facility that he said is better equipped to handle the most violent inmates. JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the inmates had been taken to the Youngstown facility.
Adding to problems at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility was that it was in the midst of a "convoluted" process of switching to a new security protocol, Mabe said. Many of those who work directly with inmates were not on the same page as prison administrators, union officials said.
"We've heard countless warnings that something would happen," Meckling said.
Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, on Tuesday said the results of the investigation into Mathias' stabbing need to be used to make Ohio corrections officers safer.
"When somebody drops the ball, you've got to own it and people need to know what's going on in these state facilities," he said.
©2018 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)