Mahoning County sheriff responds to concerns about COVID-19 inside jail


There was an email circulating last week among local lawyers, warning the Mahoning County Jail is not safe because of the virus

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene said as of Monday morning, there are no issues involving inmates in his jail with COVID-19.

“Not sure what all the hubbub’s about with this but we’re doing everything we’re supposed to do.”

There was an email circulating last week among members of the Mahoning County Bar Association, warning the jail is not safe because of the virus. It claimed a number of local attorneys have been avoiding visits with their clients and public visitations have been canceled.

“Two weeks ago, we had two inmates that were showing mild symptoms,” Greene said.

According to the Youngstown City Health Department, aside from those two inmates who tested positive for the virus July 11, there have only been four other cases in the jail since March — two deputies and two contracted staff members.

Greene said the 27 other inmates housed in the same pod as the infected prisoners just finished two weeks of quarantine.

“Anytime anybody tests positive for COVID and is placed in quarantine and/or isolation, it’s reported to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.”

By comparison, the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown reports it has 49 inmates quarantined and 13 more in isolation. The Trumbull Correctional Institution in Warren has 289 quarantined and 11 isolated. The privately-run prison on Youngstown’s east side has 16 quarantined and 14 isolated.

“I perceive all jails to be potential COVID-19 hotspots,” said Atty. Jerry Ingram, a local defense lawyer.

He said he did not send the email to other attorneys, but thinks it was meant as a timely reminder.

“It is simply designed to make sure that everybody is aware and takes appropriate precautions.”

Those precautions are likely to remain in place for a while.

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