COLUMBUS, Ohio — A prison guard stabbed multiple times by inmates in a February assault remains in the hospital several weeks after he was attacked, according to the union representing Ohio correctional officers.
Matthew Matthias is in stable condition while being treated for 32 stab wounds and numerous internal injuries and is on dialysis to help his kidneys recover, the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association said Tuesday.
The union also criticized new security policies at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville where the Feb. 20 attack occurred. Those policies, in place at the time Matthias was stabbed, allowed mixing inmates with different security levels while treating them as though they were at a lower level than their designation, according to the union.
Matthias was taking two inmates with the highest security level to the prison infirmary when the attack happened, which shouldn’t have been allowed, the union said.
Even if officials mixed inmates from different levels, “the entire range should be treated as if all inmates are at the highest level,” said Christopher Mabe, president of the guard union.
The prison system says it made changes at the Lucasville prison following the “horrible attack” on Mathias and a consultant is reviewing policies and procedures at Ohio’s highest-security prisons: Lucasville; the supermax Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown; and Toledo Correctional Institution.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction “remains committed to the operation of facilities that are safe and appropriately secure, especially our facilities that house extended restrictive housing offenders,” said prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith.
One of the inmates accused of stabbing Mathias is Casey Pigge, a three-time convicted killer who boasted about strangling a fellow inmate on a prison bus. In September, Pigge pleaded guilty to killing fellow inmate David Johnson with a restraining chain as they rode on a prison transport van. He was sentenced to 25 years behind bars.
Pigge also is serving a life sentence for using a brick to kill cellmate Luther Wade in 2016, and 30 years to life for fatally slitting the throat of his girlfriend’s mother in 2008.
The second inmate suspected in the attack, Greg Reinke, was involved in an attack last year in which he stabbed four inmates after slipping out of handcuffs, according to prison incident reports of that June 2017 assault. Reinke had 10- and 7-inch shanks, or homemade knives, at the time, according to a prison disciplinary report.
The inmates who Reinke attacked were handcuffed to an adjoining table and unable to defend themselves, the incident reports said.
One of the inmates freed himself to fight back, the report said, but the assault left “a significant amount of blood” on the table, floor and inmates themselves.
“Offender stated that he just felt like killing someone,” a hearing officer concluded in a disciplinary report. Reinke was put on the highest security level afterward. Reinke is serving a life sentence for shooting and killing a man outside a Cleveland restaurant in 2004.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.