Judge orders Elkton prison to get a move on releasing inmates

Coronavirus

The court order states the Bureau of Prisons "has made only minimal effort to get at-risk individuals out of harm's way"

Elkton federal prison in Columbiana County

Credit: WKBN

ELKTON, Ohio (WKBN) – A federal judge has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to get moving on releasing over 800 inmates from Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County.

The 837 inmates in limbo are all medically vulnerable.

The court order states the Bureau of Prisons “has made only minimal effort to get at-risk individuals out of harm’s way.”

The judge said as of May 8, only five inmates had been approved for home confinement and there continues to be a lack of testing in the jail.

The order recommends the eligible inmates be released to home confinement, through compassionate release if they’re eligible or be transferred to another prison.

Read the judge’s entire order

This comes after a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Ohio Justice and Policy Center in April over concerns of COVID-19 spreading among inmates and prison staff.

At the peak, 42 prisoners were hospitalized with 18 on ventilators.

Nine prisoners have died.

As of Monday, 103 prisoners were in isolation because they tested positive for the coronavirus, according to prison union president Joseph Mayle.

Fifty staff members have tested positive, but none have died.

Mayle said Monday that it seems the prison is on the downside of the COVID-19 curve.

Gov. Mike DeWine sent members of the Ohio National Guard to the federal prison in April to help with sick inmates.

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