CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Governor-elect John Kasich selected Gary C. Mohr to run the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Mohr is Kasich’s 11th cabinet appointment.
Kasich, who favors privatizing state prisons, and Mohr pledged in a press conference that all state decisions involving privatization will be publicly bid and transparent. They also said Mohr would not participate in decisions involving his former employer, Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, a private operator.
From 2007-09, Mohr was a managing director for CCA, which owns and operates a private prison in Youngstown that houses federal inmates. Mohr currently is chief executive of Mohr Correctional Insight, a consulting company that has mostly worked with CCA.
Mohr worked for three decades in the state prison system, serving as deputy agency director under former Governors George V. Voinovich and Bob Taft. Mohr also held the position of warden in Chillicothe and two other facilities as well as deputy director and superintendent of the Department of Youth Services.
Ohio already contracts for the operation of two private prisons: North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility, a 552-bed, minimum-security facility for alcohol and drug offenders in Grafton, and the Lake Erie Correctional Institution, a 1,380-bed, minimum-and medium-security prison in Conneaut. Utah-based Management & Training Corp. operates both facilities.
A 1996 state law requires the state to contract for two private prisons as long as they show an annual savings of at least 5 percent compared to state operations.