Officials should do all they can to safeguard state prisons

When COVID-19 invaded Ohio about four months ago, virtually no one was ready for it. Had we known then what we know now — lives could have been saved.

Our ability to combat the coronavirus has improved dramatically. But in one of the most at-risk populations in Ohio — state prisons — accusations are being made that officials are not doing all they could to guard against the disease.

A union representing many state corrections personnel is demanding improved response by state officials. Their chief complaint seems to be lack of effective personal protective equipment such as N-95 face masks.

Already throughout the state prison system, five corrections personnel have succumbed to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, visitations are set to resume at six Ohio correctional facilities. The timing seems a little questionable.

“As important as visitation is to people who are serving time and their loved ones, is this the time to do it right now?” Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio, asked, according to another media outlet.

State officials should be doing all they can to safeguard both prison employees and inmates. Their own wellbeing is important — and widespread infection at such a facility can be transmitted quickly to people in the surrounding area.

Gov. Mike DeWine should order a review of COVID-19 safeguards at state prisons. If more protective equipment is needed, it should be furnished.


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