Commentary by Jason:
I received the following reply letter from the Ohio Legislative Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC), which was mailed to me January 10, 2014 (The year 2013 is a typographical error by the CIIC), in response to my revealing essay that I mailed to them, entitled Unveiling the Shadowy Past of Ohio Parole Board Member Marc Houk: A Story of Injustice. The essay sheds a light on a corrupt former Ohio prison warden, Marc Houk, who is now a member of the Ohio Parole Board. Houk was allowed to participate in my December 2012 Parole Board Hearing, in spite of the proven fact that in 2006, when he was the warden of Ohio State Penitentiary, he had attempted to frame me for damaging a service elevator inside of the prison. The service elevator in question was later discovered, by way of an Ohio Highway Patrol investigation (Incident number 06-000028-0400) to actually have been transporting a customized motorcycle that belonged to Houk, which was inside the prison illegally.
Amazingly, in the CIIC’s shallow reply letter, they fail to comment on anything related to the Marc Houk motorcycle fiasco. How a legislative committee can simply just turn a blind eye to the corruption of the Parole Board, as well as the discriminatory and excessive incarceration of old-law prisoners, is truly horrific to me. Perhaps if state legislators had the courage to address the corrupt practices of the Parole Board, maybe the state’s prison population wouldn’t be dangerously overcrowded right now.
Dear Mr. Goudlock:
Thank you for your letter, received December 18, 2013. The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee is a legislative committee that inspects the prisons of Ohio and evaluates programs, operations, conditions, and the grievance procedure. We welcome and appreciate communication from inmates and staff in Ohio prisons as it helps us to identify problems or concerns that may need to be addressed.
Your letter relayed the following: you feel that you are unable to receive a fair parole board hearing due to a past history you have with one of the current board members and you feel that the amount of time you have served was not correctly considered by the Board.
Please understand that the CIIC does not have any investigative authority regarding your concerns or the ability to alter a Parole Board decision, although we can assist you by instructing you on how to follow appropriate procedures to report your concerns.
Regarding your parole board-related concerns, please know that you were correct to request that your hearing decision be reconsidered by submitting a letter to the Parole Board Chair if you felt that the decision was unfair. It appears from your letter that your hearing decision was upheld. Please know that, per Ohio R.C. § 5149.10, Parole Board decisions are not appealable, so the decision you received is considered final.
In an attempt to assist with your concern, I looked through the handbook, but did not locate any provisions that require a Board member to withdraw from a hearing if they know the inmate involved. I have enclosed a copy of the newest version of the Ohio Parole Board Handbook, which was revised a republished December 2013, for your personal interest and review.
For your additional information, we have sent the most recent CIIC inspection report for your institution to your institutional librarian and asked him/her to make it available to inmates’ use. We encourage you to read the report so that you know the findings from our inspections. We truly welcome any feedback that you have on our reports or inspection procedures, as we are constantly working to improve our service to the state.
Thank you again for your communication. Please be assured that we will take your concerns into consideration as we conduct our ongoing inspection and evaluation of the Ohio prison system. Each inmate letter is logged in our database and included in the institutional inspection report and our analysis of the system as a whole. Furthermore, receiving letters from multiple inmates on the same issue assists us in identifying large areas of concern that need to be immediately addressed. We remain interested in your situation and welcome future communication in that regard.
Corrections Analyst I
Download a PDF copy of the letter from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.