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Annette Chambers-Smith

Ohio Prisons Director Tests Positive For Coronavirus

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The director of Ohio’s prison system has announced that she has tested positive for the coronavirus. Annette Chambers-Smith is head of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which oversees Ohio’s 46,000 inmates. Chambers-Smith told staff that she received the results Monday after being tested Friday because she wasn’t feeling well. The… Read More

The observation tower at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, which is one of only four prisons not in quarantine for COVID-19. It's a maximum security facility and inmates are housed in cells.

Prison Workers Union says COVID-19 is Creating Chaotic Conditions

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — 23 percent of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio are prison workers or inmates, and 31 inmates and workers have died. Ohio is the first state to do mass testing at three prisons. But the union representing prison workers says those facilities are still dangerous. Ohio prisons director Annette… Read More

Prison Bars

Ohio Corrections Director Outlines How Prisons are Coping in this Pandemic

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WVXU) — Gov. Mike DeWine used his Thursday briefing on coronavirus in Ohio to provide some insight into what the state’s prisons are doing to battle the pandemic within their walls. Mass testing was conducted at Ohio’s prisons in April. At that time almost 3,800 inmates tested positive for COVID-19, according to the… Read More

Prison Bars

Advocates for Prisoners in Ohio’s Lockups say Thousands Should be Released Now

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Ohio has its first inmate death due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Mike DeWine says an inmate at the Pickaway Correctional Institution has passed away. Last week, a corrections officer at the Marion Correctional Institution died from the illness. Governor Mike DeWine has recommended more than 200 prisoners be released from Ohio’s… Read More

The Southern Ohio Correctional Facility

Ohio Now Releasing Daily Numbers on Coronavirus Testing in Prisons

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Seventeen people have been tested for coronavirus in five Ohio prisons – 13 results were negative and the rest are pending, and those inmates are in isolation. Those numbers come from a new daily update that the state is now providing on testing in prisons and youth facilities. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio… Read More

Sherry Russell discusses the death of her son at the Gallia County Jail in southern Ohio at her medical care business in Rio Grande, Ohio.

Families of Inmates Who Died, Hurt at Gallia Co. Jail Seek Answers

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GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (AP) — Families of inmates who died or were seriously injured at a small Ohio county jail in the last year are seeking answers about what happened to their loved ones. Records obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with former inmates and family members of deceased prisoners show evidence of uneven care… Read More

Jail bars

Kentucky’s Overcrowded Jails Full of Nonviolent Offenders

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s overcrowded jails are filled with nonviolent offenders who pose little risk, according to an analysis by the Administrative Office of the Courts reported in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The analysis looked at every defendant in custody on Nov. 1, 2018. It found that of the 6,796 defendants eligible for release, approximately 71 percent… Read More

The Southern Ohio Correctional Facility

State Prison Inmates May be Offered Tattoo Removal Services

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State prison officials say inmates in Ohio prisons may soon be offered tattoo removal services. The Dayton Daily News reports that Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Annette Chambers-Smith says the state is researching costs and logistics of removing tattoos on prisoners’ faces, necks and hands. She says tattoos can hurt inmates’… Read More

Jail bars

Profiting Off Prisoners: State Inmates Mean Big Bucks for Local Jails

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Rural jails in Kentucky are increasingly relying on income derived from payments for holding state prisoners in county facilities, according to a new report by a think tank that advocates for criminal justice reform. To address overcrowding, states make payments to counties to hold convicted prisoners and pretrial detainees. States save money, and counties get… Read More

The Southern Ohio Correctional Facility

State Patrol: Prison Inmates Planned Possible Escape, Riot

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The State Highway Patrol says inmates at an Ohio maximum security prison were plotting “a possible escape attempt and possible riot” when the plan was interrupted. The patrol is investigating the Feb. 12 incident in which authorities confiscated three fake handguns, drawings of handguns, and a fake explosive device. Prison officials… Read More

Gov. Mike DeWine

Executions In Ohio On Hold For Now

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Gov. Mike DeWine says there won’t be any executions in Ohio in the near future. DeWine told reporters at an Ohio Associated Press event that a federal court has ruled Ohio’s existing death penalty drugs are cruel and unusual punishment.  That’s why he delayed the execution of Wayne Keith Henness weeks ago. And now DeWine says he has put… Read More

Report: Lawmakers Contributing To Prison Overcrowding

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Once again, the ACLU of Ohio is pushing for criminal justice reform with a new report on what it calls the “Statehouse to prison pipeline”. The ACLU’s Gary Daniels says the report shows too many Ohioans are being locked up. “Our prison system is about 11,000 to 12,000 people above capacity right now,” Daniels says. Daniels says lawmakers have loosened penalties… Read More

DeWine Nominates First Woman To Lead Ohio’s Prison System

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Governor-elect Mike DeWine announced the nomination of Annette Chambers-Smith as the next director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. If confirmed, Chambers-Smith would be the first woman to lead the DRC. DeWine says the two have discussed criminal justice reform, which includes prison overpopulation and recidivism. “As we move toward prison reform, which… Read More

In this July 18, 2016 file photo, Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder speaks during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Report: Widespread Fraud Within Prison Industries Agency

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A state lawmaker says free furniture received by his office was promptly returned when allegations arose that the table and chairs were provided improperly. The state’s inspector general said in a report Thursday that an employee of Ohio Penal Industries wrongly provided the furniture to GOP Rep. Larry Householder at no… Read More

Eastern Kentucky Prison Moves Forward As Opponents Consider Challenge

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The Bureau of Prisons has issued a record of decision signaling that it is moving ahead with plans to build a federal prison on the site of a former strip mine in the hills of Letcher County, Kentucky. But local opponents of the prison say they’re not giving up and are considering a legal challenge to prevent… Read More

The Prison Builder’s Dilemma: Economics and Ethics Clash in Eastern Kentucky

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You are Letcher County, Kentucky. You are rural, mountainous, and in the heart of the central Appalachian coalfields. Your economy is not in good shape. Fox News has called your largest town “the poster child for the war on coal.” You are offered funds to build a new federal prison. It could bring jobs but… Read More