System failures: How do we prevent this from happening again?


Having worked on the Brian Golsby story for several months now, the more I learn about him, the harder it is to understand how he got released from prison in the first place and with so little supervision.

Even Gary Mohr, the Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, admits Golsby was bad news during his six-year incarceration in five prisons. He racked up 52 violations.

“Yes, his behavior was not rehabilitative. He would not engage in programming that would abate the reason he came to prison,” said Mohr.

But because of determinant sentencing, meaning the State could not hold Golsby any longer than his sentence, he had to be set free.

The series of apparent failures in the way ODRC handled his case have caught the attention of state lawmakers.

“Well, to me, he had a file,” said State Representative Bernadine Kenny Kent. “We’re supposed to have these assessments in place in which we determine how risky criminals that have committed violent acts are to the public. If we’ve done the assessment, we found him to be risky, I want to know if there are any more Brian Golsby’s out there that have been found to be risky and all they have on is a monitor. We could at least do that.”

Golsby was fitted with a GPS monitor upon his release. After filing open records requests and digging through hundreds of pages of documents, we found records that show 12 specific terms and conditions he had to agree to for the electronic monitoring program.

Among the conditions, Golsby couldn't possess any firearms; he couldn't be found AWOL – absent without leave – from his community housing arrangement; or have repeated violations of schedules. After his arrest in the February 9th murder of OSU student Reagan Tokes, investigators found Golsby violated all those rules and more. We couldn't find any evidence Golsby even signed the document.

We reached out to ODRC for comment, they emailed us this statement:

“Thank you for your email. DRC has nothing new to add regarding this matter.”

We showed the terms and conditions document to State Senator Kevin Bacon and State Representative Jim Hughes.

“I mean to date it, sign it, there’s two places he should have signed here. Also, that he received the equipment on the next page on back of that. You normally have a signature there," Rep. Hughes said.

Senator Bacon offered three points that he thinks need to be addressed.

“Number one, how do we keep them in prison longer. Number two, before anyone is released or put on monitoring, we evaluate what their history has been in prison. Number three, if they’re going to be electronically monitored, we need to have more advanced technology and have mechanisms to monitor them more thoroughly and on a 24/7 basis in certain situations if they’re going to be let out at all," he said.

On July 19, Bacon and Hughes had a closed-door meeting with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

“We have to see what went wrong here and then what we can do to fix it, make sure it doesn't happen again," Hughes said.

Hughes said he’s been in touch with the family of Reagan Tokes who also want to make sure what happened to their daughter does not happen to anyone else.

Failure To Protect

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Reagan Tokes’ murder investigation