837 inmates, including Jimmy Dimora, eligible for release or transfer from Ohio’s federal prison due to coronavirus
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - According to court documents, 837 inmates at the Elkton Correctional Institution qualify to be released or transferred out of the federal prison because of an outbreak of the coronavirus.
Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora is one of those inmates who would qualify.
The 64-year-old is serving time after being convicted of corruption. “Our client is a good candidate to be identified for home confinement, or some type of transfer out of there due to his health condition and he is a non-violent offender,” said Dimora’s attorney, David Mills.
The ACLU of Ohio and Ohio Justice and Policy Center filed a lawsuit earlier this month on behalf of prisoners detained in the low-security federal prison after three people died.
The lawsuit requested the immediate release, furlough, or transfer to home confinement of all medically vulnerable individuals at high-risk for serious illness or death if they contracted COVID-19.
The Bureau of Prisons released the list Thursday.
Annette Chambers-Smith, director at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation Correction, said Thursday they started planning for situations like this in 2009.
“When COVID-19 started we did ask every facility to update their old pandemic plan,” she said.
Chambers-Smith also said the National Guard has helped in Ohio’s prisons.
Dr. Michael Para, who specializes in infectious disease at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, said it was surprising how many prisoners who tested positive experienced no COVID-19 symptoms.
“They’ve educated the inmates about this and they’ve offered them masks if they want to wear them,” he said.
Ohio has about 48,000 prisoners in its facilities right now, Gov. Mike DeWine said.
All three spoke at length about what’s being done in Ohio’s prisons during the daily 2 p.m. press conference.
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