Ohio prison workers union sues to stop prison farms shutdown

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The union representing Ohio’s corrections officers has sued to stop the planned shutdown of the state’s prison farms in a move to raise millions of dollars to fund new rehabilitation programs through land sales.

The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association says in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Franklin County court that closing farms at 10 prisons without consulting the union violates the employee contract.

The union also questions the closure after the state agreed last year to spend $9 million on new barns at the London and Marion prisons.

The state will continue operations this year but prepare to sell off livestock and stop farming by 2017.

Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says $5 million in annual payroll costs for 72 employees can be better spent on security and career training.

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