Today, state Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) sent a letter to Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted urging them to take immediate action to respond to the Covid-19 crisis at the Marion Correctional Institution.
“It is disheartening and alarming,” said Williams. “As a former corrections and parole officer, my heart goes out to the officers and staff of MCI and other facilities around the state. I cannot imagine the fear and anxiety that they, and their families, are experiencing when they go to work. They must be protected at all costs.”
Marion Correctional Institution has been identified as one of the largest Covid-19 outbreaks in the country. According to officials, nearly 80% of inmates, about 1,976, and 154 staff members have tested positive for Covid-19. Although many who were tested were asymptomatic, five inmates and one correctional officer have died from the virus.
“The infection numbers and recent news reports show that little to nothing has been done to comply with Covid-19 safety guidelines in these facilities,” said Williams. “I implore you to take immediate steps to ensure the men and women who work or are incarcerated in Ohio’s correctional facilities are safe. If the state continues to delay a drastic response to this tragedy, only the state will be responsible for the lives lost.”
Williams urged DeWine to use his executive authority of pardon, commutation, or reprieve for those individuals who have demonstrated rehabilitation and for others to be moved to safer, more sanitary locations where they can maintain social distancing and receive medical treatment.
The Senator’s letter can be read here