Federal Bureau of Prisons
Elkton Federal Correctional Institution
The Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County appears to be overrun with the Coronavirus.
3News' Rachel Polansky has reported that
three inmates tested positive for the virus but as many as 80 are exhibiting symptoms. While prison staff have worked to place those who are ill in isolation, almost none of them will be tested for COVID-19 because the Federal Bureau of Prisons only provided the facility with five testing kits.
Both correctional officers and inmates are on edge.
Among the nearly 2,500 prisoners at Elkton is 64-year-old former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, currently serving a 28-year sentence for assorted corruption-related crimes. Dimora has a history of medical issues and has asked for early release in the past due to his health. A 2012 Plain Dealer
article described him
as "riddled with infirmities."
Dimora's attorney told cleveland.com's Eric Heisig
that Dimora himself has not contracted the virus. He echoed comments from medical experts and human rights organizations who have said that the prisons are particularly dangerous environments for the spread of viral infections.
Dimora is currently scheduled for release in 2036, but his attorney is exploring the possibility of requesting an early release. Oral arguments for his ongoing appeal, which were scheduled for March, have been postponed to April 16 and will proceed via videoconference.
Like Marion Correctional Institution, the Ohio state prison where three staff members have tested positive
for COVID-19, Elkton is a low-security facility where social distancing and isolation are difficult for inmates.
Elkton is located in Columbiana County, directly south of Youngstown's Mahoning County, which is home to highest number
of cases and hospitalizations per capita — and the most total deaths — in the state. According to the most recent available numbers, Columbiana County has confirmed 19 cases of COVID-19 and recorded two deaths.
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