In this last week, protesters took to the streets all across the nation to protest quarantine and lock down orders put into place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world. In Ohio, to the dismay of many, there were several days of protesters swarming the Ohio Statehouse in order to make their voices heard to illustrate their disdain of the state of Ohio under lock down.
Last week the ACLU along with academic partners released a new epidemiological model that shows COVID-19 could claim the lives of as many as 200,000 people – double the federal government’s estimate – if jail populations are not dramatically and immediately reduced.
At least 27 states and Washington D.C. have begun releasing racial breakdowns of COVID-19 in their jurisdictions. The data released so far has shown that by in large Black people are dying at disturbingly disproportionate rates. For example, Black people represent 43 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois, but make up only 14 percent of the state’s population.
Coronavirus has landed in Ohio’s prisons. This is no surprise. That’s why the ACLU of Ohio and other advocates have been urging Governor DeWine, ODH Director Acton, DRC Director Chambers-Smith, and DYC Director Gies for several weeks to use their powers to quickly and safely reduce incarcerated populations across Ohio – especially for those most vulnerable.
Through our hotline, [email protected], we’ve heard from over 100 people with incarcerated loved ones – mostly in the state’s prisons – reporting that people are in danger, and that they are terrified now that the virus is in the prisons.