Supreme Court Delays Federal Prison Inmates’ Release in Ohio


CINCINNATI, Ohio (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the federal government’s request to delay the release of medically vulnerable inmates at a federal prison in eastern Ohio where hundreds have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued the brief order Thursday evening — staying an order from a lower court to speed up the inmates’ release — until the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in the matter.

The Supreme Court last month denied the government’s request, mainly on procedural grounds. The government appealed again. Sotomayor handles emergency appeals from Ohio.

Her ruling put on hold earlier orders that the Bureau of Prisons speed up the release of more than 800 medically vulnerable inmates at a federal prison in Elkton in eastern Ohio.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and lead to death.

Inmate health has emerged as a major concern in Ohio and other states during the pandemic, and Elkton has been one of the hardest-hit prisons in the nation.

Hundreds of Elkton inmates and at least seven guards have tested positive for the coronavirus, and nine inmates have died.

On Friday, Fox 19 reported Elkton Federal Correctional Institution 523 inmates tested positive for the coronavirus. Currently, Elkton holds 2,040 male inmates and an adjacent site houses 417 male inmates.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio’s inmate population was hit hard by COVID-19 in April when two state prisons, Marion Correctional Institution and Pickaway Correctional Institution, became the country’s epicenter for the virus.

Currently, Ohio has a total of 35,096 cases with 2,355 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

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Dan Sewell reports for the Associated Press. Star News Digitial Media’s Zachery Schmidt contributed to this report. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected] Follow Zachery on Twitter @zacheryschmidt2.






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