Ohio inmates built computers in prison from spare parts

Prisoners at Marion Correctional Institution built computers from harvested spare parts, pirated movies, installed illegal software and stashed a one-terabyte hard drive in a hidden compartment, according to a 27-page investigation released Tuesday by Ohio Inspector General Randy Meyer.

The hidden hard drive contained pirated software, torrent downloads, photos and hard drive cleaning software.

Meyer referred the report to the state auditor and the Ohio Highway Patrol presented it to the Marion County Prosecutor for consideration.

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Inmates working at the Ohio Penal Industries shop as well as the Prison News Network were in on the schemes.

Computers from RET3, a Cleveland-based non-profit that teaches inmates to refurbish computers, were brought into the prison. The hidden hard drive made its way into the prison via a former MCI inmate who worked at RET3 and gave it to a prison IT worker named Carl ‘Gene’ Brady.

Brady “had tons of computers…But everybody was just putting their own computers together — I’m telling you this place was wide open for 10 years. They let us feed into that,” inmate Kevin Krinkle told investigators. “…I built the one (computer) in R-Block. I put the hard drives in and I loaded it. I did everything.”

Meyer’s report also said that MCI allowed employees to bring movies into the prison from rental stores. Inmates copied the movies and the prison showed them on the in-house TV system, in violation of copyright laws and contracts MCI had with two companies.

In April 2017, an inspector general report at MCI found inmates had assigned to the computer recycling program had used refurbished devices to access the prison system’s internal IT network as well as the Internet to commit identity fraud and obtain debit card accounts.

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