ELKTON, Ohio (WKBN) – As numbers of positive coronavirus cases continue to grow at the prison, some are concerned for inmates.
People protested near Elkton Saturday afternoon.
“He wasn’t given a death sentence. Their loved ones weren’t given death sentences. Why can’t they come home?” said one protestor.
Peaceful protesters stood down the road from Elkton Federal Prison in Lisbon, voicing their concerns for loved ones inside the facility.
“There’s no protection for the guards nor the inmates. There are inmates we know personally who have caught the coronavirus,” said Chantell Brooks, a cousin of an Elkton inmate.
She did not confirm whether her cousin has the virus or not.
She says that they have been trying to contact Elkton about the conditions and that her calls haven’t been answered.
“We have one operator who takes incoming telephone calls. We don’t have the means or the capability or the staff available to take 2,500 calls about how the inmates may be doing,” said Joseph Mayle, Elkton Prison Union President.
Mayle says inmates were given extra minutes for calls and have access to emails and that inmates should be able to update their families on their condition.
He also says that they have made the adjustments necessary to shared spaces.
“Areas in which the inmates are living in have been sanitized every day since Monday, and prior to that, we had inmates going around on cleaning detail every day, every hour, wiping down door handles, doors,” said Mayle.
He says that commissary for inmates has been suspended.
Limiting commissary access is only to maintain proper social distancing, but Mayle wants to assure families that all inmates are receiving their three meals. This includes all of their snacks, sanitary products and hygiene needs.
“We are doing everything we can inside the institution, as much as the BOP will allow, to ensure the health and safety of the inmates,” said Mayle.
For the protesters, all they want is for proper action to be taken and, if an inmate can be compassionately released, that they are sent home.
“We just want some type of protection and some type of order to get this coronavirus handled up in this prison,” said Brooks.
According to Mayle, surgical masks have been given to all the inmates and N95 masks to all of the guards.
According to BOP, as of Saturday, 13 inmates and 14 staff members have tested positive. Three inmates have died.