COLUMBUS—State Reps. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) and Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) today sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine calling for further action to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio’s overcrowded jails and prisons.
The letter outlined the following steps that the administration could take to protect the health and safety of incarcerated Ohioans and corrections staff:
- Form a task force to address the spread of COVID-19 in prisons;
- Expand early release efforts for low-risk, non-violent offenders;
- Stop accepting new inmates at state facilities;
- Continue to increase testing.
“The virus continues to spread as we see new cases in different facilities, and people continue to die in our correctional institutions. Therefore, we are once again calling on the Governor and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to do more to address the virus within these facilities,” said Crawley. “These measures can disrupt the spread of the virus and could curb the number of deaths. We are obligated to protect all Ohioans, including those incarcerated and working in correctional institutions.”
“As the disease continues to spread throughout the state prison system, implementing these measures will lower the risk of infection and death,” said Crossman. “Since incarcerated individuals and corrections staff are particularly susceptible to infection due to overcrowded facilities, it is imperative that testing is conducted at full capacity to ensure their health and safety. I urge Gov. DeWine to take action to protect the lives of these vulnerable Ohioans, which will also prevent the risk of further infectious spread throughout the rest of Ohio.”
As of May 19, 63 inmates and four corrections employees have died due to COVID-19, and hundreds more inmates have been infected.