Move to Toledo: “It’s just another prison.”

Jeffrey Wogenstahl, and the other death row inmates at Chillicothe Correctional Institution, Ohio, were told yesterday that they will be moved in the near future. Their destination is Toledo Correctional Institution, which is about 4 miles from Ohio’s northern border with Michigan.

Chillicothe Correctional Institution, where Jeff is housed at present, is roughly 190 miles south of Toledo, and about 45 miles north of Ohio’s southern border with Kentucky. The journey from Chillicothe to Toledo takes over 3 hours.

Most of the inmates, including Jeff, have been moved before: in 2011 they were brought to Chillicothe from Mansfield Correctional Institution.

As an animal lover, Jeff will be interested to find out if he can observe different birds in his new surroundings (he has occasionally enjoyed watching a large vulture perched on the building opposite his cell in Chillicothe). In Toledo we hope he will able to see gulls and other water birds: Toledo Correctional Institution is situated only about 2 miles from where the Maumee River joins Lake Eerie.

One reason given for the move is that Toledo has better facilities for an elderly death row population (the average age of inmates is almost 50); Chillicothe, an older prison, does not have facilities for “inmates with physical and mobility limitations”. 

As Jeff says, the move will not be of great significance: after all, “It’s just another prison”. The move that he really hopes for – back into society – will come when he can at last persuade a court that his trial was significantly unfair. We trust he will not have long to wait.

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