Inmates At Ohio Prison Strike To Protest Programming Cuts

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Inmates at Ohio’s highest security prison have entered the second week of a hunger strike protesting recreation and programming restrictions that include a ban on religious gatherings.

A prisons department spokeswoman said nine inmates at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown were continuing to refuse meals as of Friday, in a protest that began March 19. The prison houses Ohio’s super-maximum security lockdown.

Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said most inmates have been prohibited from roaming their enclosed housing units freely, and group programming has been halted for the highest security inmates. She cited safety and security concerns, including a serious assault on staff, in the decision.

Striking inmates argue religious programming is a constitutionally protected right.

Smith said inmates still have access to one-on-one religious services.