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News Article From 1993- “Roll ‘Em! Inmates fix OSR for Hollywood film”

Roll ‘em! Inmates fix OSR for Hollywood film

By: Lou Whitmire

MANSFIELD— Anthony Abott will be scraping paint for about 30 days inside the west cell block at the Ohio State Reformatory. 

He’s not being punished for bad behavior. He and 40 other honor inmates have been assigned to the old prison for the upcoming filming of a Hollywood movie. 

The honor inmate Tuesday worked along the cell range on the third floor of the dilapidated prison scraping large flakes of paint left dangling from the white and yellow walls. 

“My regular (prison) job as a mechanic is a lot easier,” he said with a laugh. 

Honor inmates are readying the buildings in the prison, one of Mansfield’s most significant historic structures, for Castle Rock Pictures to begin filming “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” on June 16th. 

Richard Hall, a spokesman at Mansfield Correctional Institution (MANCI), said filmmakers will hire contractors to paint the nearly 100-year-old prison. 

The abandoned prison, which opened in 1896, served as a prison for nearly 95 years. It closed in 1990 when Mansfield Correctional Institution opened. 

Heat to the facility was turned off when it closed, causing the aging facility to decay further as a result of dampness. 

“If we had left the heat on it would cost $170,000 a month to run the power plant to heat this place,” said Hall, as he watched inmates scraping paint from the ceiling of a room that formally served as a chapel. 

In some parts of the old prison ice and water could be found on the floors while steam sifted through cracks in the walls in other areas from heaters being run around the clock in an effort to dry the facility.

Inmates will be staying at the ghost-like facility overnight to monitor the heaters, Hall added.

“The film people have said they will use the library, the day room, and the gymnasium,” he said, noting the former warden’s office in the administrative offices will be used as the warden’s office in the film.