After the adoption of widespread testing, officials found a staggering rate of infection among inmates at Ohio prisons. At one prison, testing revealed 73 percent of the inmates carried the coronavirus.
Once Marion Correctional Institution decided to test everyone at their facility, they discovered 1,828 positive cases among the inmates. Furthermore, as they tested the staff as well as the inmates, they found an additional 109 cases among the workers. Since, more cases added to those figures. Inmates exceed 2,000 cases at this point.
Collectively, these cases make up the bulk in their county. Marion County also leads the rest of the state for the number of diagnosed covid-19 cases.
On Monday, Ohio counted a total of 12,919 cases, 2,400 of those coming from prisons, making them a fifth of the total outbreak. Since then, Ohio added new cases for a total count of 14,117 confirmed cases of covid-19. As more prisons adopt widespread testing, officials are uncovering a growing problem in the correctional system.
Outbreak in Prisons Gains Attention
Testing in other states lags behind Ohio when it comes to their prisons. In Michigan, testing of 889 inmates as of Monday returned 572 positive cases. Other states with larger prison populations report fewer cases, but that likely comes as a result of testing.
In response, the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called for the release of thousands of inmates to avoid catastrophic conditions. Governor Mike DeWine recommended early release for roughly 300 inmates. The total prison population of the state is 49,000.
“This is devastating and terrifying, but it was not inevitable,” said Claire Chevrier, the ACLU Ohio advocacy counsel.
Speaking in Columbus, Governor DeWine did state they are seeking to expand that number. “We’re looking at more prisoners who can be released,” said the governor during his Monday address. However, he added that they couldn’t release all inmates of a specific category. While the governor continues to identify more prisoners for early release, the problem rages within prison walls.