Prisons

Montgomery County Jail
Montgomery County Sheriff's Department

A Dayton nonprofit and an inmate of the Montgomery County jail have filed a lawsuit against the local health department seeking action against the jail's growing COVID-19 outbreak.

The Indiana Women’s Prison has taken hard measures to contain the coronavirus. Many inmates in the prison have spent long periods locked in their cells — which have no toilets, running water or air conditioning — with limited opportunities for relief. 

As temperatures rise over the summer months, advocates and those with loved ones inside certain housing units, known as the cottages, worry about the heat and long periods of confinement. They fear it could cause health problems for the inmates, and say that the treatment amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. 

Paige Pfleger / WOSU

In January, Columbus launched a new career development program for recently incarcerated people. After months of work, and overcoming additional obstacles presented by the pandemic, the first class of participants graduated last week. 

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has blocked a lower court’s order to remove hundreds of inmates vulnerable to COVID-19 from Elkton federal prison.

The ACLU of Ohio is considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, which had previously blocked the transfer of inmates until the circuit court made its ruling.

Prison facilities across the U.S. have become hotspots for COVID-19 cases. More than 34,000 people in prisons across the U.S. have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to recent data from the Marshall Project, a nonprofit covering criminal justice. Side Effects reporters Jake Harper (WFYI, Indianapolis) and Paige Pfleger (WOSU, Ohio) joined community engagement specialist Brittani Howell to talk about covering prison outbreaks in their states.

Imagine being stuck in prison for a crime you didn't commit. And as you wait to get out, the pandemic hits. WVXU interviewed two people in that situation who are now free. They talk about their fears, joys and need for patience.

Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio.
Federal Bureau of Prisons

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution, Ohio's only federal prison, must begin releasing inmates to help with social distancing behind bars. 

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

The Columbus nonprofit We Amplify Voices debuted a song Friday co-written by inmates in an addiction recovery program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women.

Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio.
Federal Bureau of Prisons

A federal judge has ordered the release or transfer of hundreds of inmates at Elkton federal prison south of Youngstown, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The government is seeking to dramatically reduce that number.

A sign for the Franklin County Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court in Columbus.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

The Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center is the latest correctional facility to be impacted by the coronavirus.

Gov. Mike DeWine used his Thursday briefing on coronavirus in Ohio to provide some insight into what the state's prisons are doing to battle the pandemic within their walls.

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.

Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio.
Federal Bureau of Prisons

A federal judge has ordered that officials at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution identify which inmates are eligible to transfer out due to the spread of COVID-19 within the prison.

The Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio.
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

After widespread testing this weekend in Ohio’s prisons, the state says 3,312 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. That's significantly more than any other state in the country. 

An officer at Marion Correctional Institution died of COVID-19 on April 8, 2020.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Widespread coronavirus testing in Ohio prisons fueled a weekend surge in cases, which researchers say could represent the peak of the pandemic in Ohio. There were 11,292 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, and nearly a quarter of those are either inmates or staff at Ohio prisons.

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