Criminal Justice Press Release

03.18.20

ACLU of Ohio Unveils Two New Efforts Regarding COVID-19 and the Incarcerated Population

Criminal Justice

COLUMBUS – Today the ACLU of Ohio expands upon its advocacy efforts with two separate initiatives to offer guidance and support to limit COVID-19’s effects on people impacted by Ohio’s criminal justice system and numerous, pre-existing mass incarceration problems.

One effort involves the ACLU of Ohio addressing ICE’s Detroit Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Offices and Ohio Field Offices with four specific recommendations about the treatment of immigrants.  The second is an open letter to Ohio government and elected officials plus criminal justice stakeholders with urgent, commonsense recommendations for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, courts, county and city jails, and related authorities

These letters are the latest efforts from the ACLU of Ohio to draw attention to people who come into contact with the criminal justice system and how this virus impacts them. On March 10, the organization wrote to Governor DeWine requesting an immediate plan of action to manage the spread of the virus in Ohio’s prisons, youth facilities, and jails; and just yesterday, an email hotline ([email protected]) was created to serve Ohio’s incarcerated population and their loved ones

“The urgency of deliberate and thoughtful action cannot be overstated. Lives are on the line and we are eager to work with the state to ensure the implementation of policies that will limit the threats presented by this public health crisis,” concluded Gary Daniels, Chief Lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio.

“During this critical time, it is imperative that no one avoids seeking medical treatment because they fear immigration enforcement, or else, the impact and spread of COVID-19 could drastically worsen across Ohio. Additionally, there are far too many individuals locked up in Ohio’s prisons and jails who would be better served in their communities. Let’s not forget, on any given day there are more than 20,000 people in Ohio jails –two-thirds of whom are legally innocent,” added Jocelyn Rosnick, Policy Director for the ACLU of Ohio.

The letter to ICE and the open letter to criminal justice stakeholders are available.