Prisons

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.

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.

The equation for COVID-19 hot spots has been clear since the earliest days of the pandemic: Take facilities where people live in close quarters, then add conditions that make it hard to take preventive measures such as wearing personal protective equipment or keeping socially distant.

Major outbreaks in nursing homes this spring shocked the nation. Now, residents of those facilities are among the first in line for the vaccine.

Marion Correctional Institution
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

When Ohio gets its first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine, medical professionals, residents and staff at long-term care facilities and EMS workers will be first in line. But it’s unclear where those in the more controversial congregate setting of prisons might end up on the vaccine priority list.

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. 

Two Ohio Prison Officers Die From COVID-19

Nov 30, 2020
A corrections officer at Dayton Correctional Institution died of COVID-19 in the last week.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Two more Ohio prison officers have died of COVID-19, bringing the total number of correctional staff deaths since the pandemic's start to seven.

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

The director of Ohio's prison system has announced that she has tested positive for the coronavirus.

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.

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

A union that represents health care workers in Ohio’s correctional facilities is demanding additional personal protective equipment and staffing policy changes due to what they call “an unacceptable level of risk” during the ongoing pandemic.

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