A dozen Ohio prisons are on full quarantine right now. A prisoner and at least one corrections worker has died and many staffers and inmates have tested positive for COVID19. Gov. Mike DeWine has recommended more than 200 prisoners be released but as Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports, advocates for those behind bars say much more needs to be done.
Advocates for inmates including the ACLU and Policy Matters Ohio say there are thousands of non-violent offenders who are near the end of their sentences. And former U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart says many should be released now.
“We’re not advocating for anybody and everybody to be released.”
Stewart says the state needs to weigh the dangers of releasing the inmates versus keeping them in prison. The advocates recommend putting inmates being released on strict parole or similar measures to make sure these inmates serve out the rest of their sentences. But families and supporters of inmates say social distancing cannot be done in Ohio’s prisons, which are at 128% capacity.