Ohio federal judge orders release of some inmates due to COVID-19
© WikiMedia (Michael Coghlan)
Ohio federal judge orders release of some inmates due to COVID-19

Judge James Gwin of the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, ordered Wednesday that certain inmates of Elkton Federal Correctional Institution would be considered for “enlargement” based on the filed habeas petition. Enlargement is when the court maintains custody over the inmates but the place of custody is altered, such as through parole, home confinement, or a half-way house. This enlargement would continue until the risk of the COVID-19 virus has abated.

Elkton houses approximately 2,500 inmates. Despite limited testing, Elkton has had 59 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates, and six have perished. There are 46 cases among staff.

The court noted: “But despite their efforts [at containing the COVID-19 virus], the Elkton officials fight a losing battle. A losing battle for staff. A losing battle for inmates.” Therefore, the court ordered that respondents identify those most at medical risk so that the court can evaluate individually the ability to transfer out of Elkton.

As states consider options with their correctional institutions, advocates have demanded the release of incarcerated individuals.

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