ohio department of rehabilitation and correction

Marion Correctional Institution is the largest hotspot of coronavirus cases in the country.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Some Ohio prison inmates are once again able to greet visitors, another positive sign for a system that’s been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Connecting Prison Inmates With Families

Feb 22, 2021
Looking out from the Tapestry Unit onto a courtyard at the Ohio Reformatory For Women.
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

Nearly 2.7 million children in the U.S. have a parent behind bars. That’s one in every 28 children.

Franklin Medical Center is one of the state prison facilities hit by the coronavirus.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

A report from the ACLU of Ohio finds that nearly one of every 10 bills introduced by Ohio lawmakers during the last legislative session were criminal justice-related, and at odds with efforts to reduce the state's prison population.

Gov. Mike DeWine with his dog, Dolly, at a coronavirus briefing in September 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio’s effort to vaccinate citizens against COVID-19 have been hampered by a lack of supply. Gov. Mike DeWine said there is hope the state will begin receiving more doses soon from both Pfizer and Moderna, the two companies whose vaccines have been approved for use so far.

Ohio’s prison authority is vaccinating inmates and staff against the coronavirus at three detention facilities starting this week, but vaccines are limited to inmates under medical care.

According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, vaccinations will be available to 593 inmates and 456 staff members. The shipments began arriving Monday.

There have been 115 confirmed or probable COVID-19 inmate deaths and 7 staff deaths in Ohio’s prison system. The prison population has been reduced because of COVID, but advocates say the facilities are still overcrowded and dangerous. 

Prisoner's rights advocates are pleading for more action to help stop the deadly toll taken by the pandemic that has ravaged America's jails and prisons.

Their calls come as the country grapples with increases in cases and hospitalizations from the coronavirus, forcing states and cities to impose tougher restrictions on public gatherings.

The advocates want faster, early release of older and medically vulnerable inmates, those nearing their parole date, as well as non-violent prisoners with a track record of good behavior.

The Marion Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio.
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests correctional facilities that resisted mass coronavirus testing for inmates erred in their decision to only test inmates with symptoms, leading to large initial undercounts.

Why Did 77 Ohio Inmates Die Of COVID-19, But Just 10 Pennsylvania Inmates?

Aug 21, 2020
At Pickaway Correctional Institution, 110 staff members and more than 1,400 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

For the first two months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Ohio’s response set an example. Thanks to an early shutdown order, the state’s per-capita deaths from the virus as of late April were less than half of those in neighboring Pennsylvania, a state with similar demographics.

But inside the two states’ prison systems, it was a different story. 

Marion Correctional Institution is the largest hotspot of coronavirus cases in the country.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Ohio's prisons agency says more than 20 death row inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak flaring up in just the past week.

Marion Correctional Institution is the largest hotspot of coronavirus cases in the country.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

More than 90 Ohio prison inmates and prison staff have died of COVID-19, as of Monday. Advocates have filed lawsuits and pushed for more releases of inmates to lower overcrowding and stop the spread of the virus.

Gov. Mike DeWine inside the Governor's Residence in Columbus on Dec. 13, 2019.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

As the state reopens, Gov. Mike DeWine insists, the success of the economy depends on whether Ohioans follow social distancing protocols.

Updated: 4:10 p.m., Friday, April 24, 2020

Ohio will “substantially” increase its capacity for coronavirus testing as the state’s manufacturers step up the production of test kit components, Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday.

More testing, combined with expanded efforts to trace the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state, will help health workers “isolate” and “kill” the virus, the governor said.

“Frankly, what I like about this, and why I’m so excited is it’s going to enable us to really go on the offensive as we attack the virus,” DeWine said.

Marion Correctional Institution is the largest hotspot of coronavirus cases in the country.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Prisoners can be heard coughing on calls coming out of Marion Correctional Institution, a minimum- and medium-security facility an hour north of Columbus.

Franklin Medical Center is one of the state prison facilities hit by the coronavirus.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Inmates sitting in soiled diapers or beds for hours. Feces in the showers. Urine caked on beds.

These are just some of the conditions reported by inmates at the Franklin Medical Center in Columbus – conditions that were problems well before coronavirus hit the facility.

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