Federal Bureau of Prisons
Elkton Federal Correctional Institution
Though the Federal Bureau of Prisons is reporting that only 10 inmates and nine staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Lisbon, Ohio, reports from inside the facility tell a much scarier story.
Joseph Mayle, president of the Union which represents many of the Elkton guards, told a local TV outlet
Thursday that 67 inmates have either tested positive or are showing symptoms of the virus and that the entire inmate population is being isolated.
Furthermore, he said, 44 inmates have been hospitalized, up from 37
earlier this week. Fourteen are in serious enough condition to be on ventilators. Mayle also noted that 12 staff members, not the official nine, have tested positive.
These increasing numbers are consistent with messages pouring out of the facility in phone calls and emails to family members and loved ones, and indeed, on videos recorded
with contraband devices.
"They are literally leaving us in here to die," said 31-year-old inmate Aaron DeShawn Campbell, in a video posted to Facebook one week ago.
Elkton is one of two Federal prisons that has reported COVID-19 deaths, the other being Oakdale, in Louisiana. The situation was grave enough that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine authorized sending
26 medically trained members of the Ohio National Guard to assist earlier this week.
Three sources with family members or friends inside the facility spoke to Scene Friday about the conditions at Elkton. (Two of the three sources preferred to remain anonymous to protect the identities of the inmates they knew and Scene chose not to name the third source as well.)
They descriptions corroborated earlier reports from prisoners. They said the facility was dramatically understaffed—"There's no one there"—and that many of the inmates are exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19: physical weakness, body aches, chills, coughs and fever.
Temperatures of the inmates are being checked on a regular basis, two sources said, and when an inmate's temperature rises above 100.4 degrees, he is taken away for "quarantine," which may merely mean being tossed into the Chapel or a visiting room with others.
One source said the inmate she was related to did not have a mask, and said she instructed him to use his undershirt to cover his face. She said he was not in the main Elkton facility (which holds about 2,000 inmates), but in the satellite camp (which holds about 500).
"It's like a college dormitory," she said. "They're all locked in there, breathing the same air. My thing is, these men didn't get a death sentence. Why aren't more provisions being made? God forbid any of them die."
Another said that the inmate she knew was housed in a "barracks-style" room with 300 beds in the main Elkton facility. He has received no medication despite feeling ill for three days. She said that he and those in his room mostly just stay in their beds all day long.
Two of the three sources said, based on what they'd heard, the reported deaths by the Bureau of Prisons may not be up to date. The BOP has released information on three total deaths, all of which occurred on April 2. One source said the inmate she knew told her "at least four" had died. Another said she thought the number of deaths was even higher.
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