Gov. John Kasich’s office is not confirming or denying reports that the state’s youth and adult prison systems might merge in the future.
News reports suggest the next state budget might include a merger of the Ohio Department of Youth Services and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Ken Wilkins, a member of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, says he’s skeptical about that idea.
“Because we are dealing with a teenager up to the age of 21 who will see the streets again and whose record will be sealed.”
In addition to dealing with adults and juveniles differently, Wilkins says the youth prison system is still under a federal court order to improve the way it handles young prisoners. And he says a merger could affect that. In a written statement, Emmalee Kalmbach, a spokeswoman for Kasich’s office, says the state has worked to improve public services by reducing bureaucratic waste and ensuring that state agencies more effectively serve their customers.