Protesters Reported Outside Elkton Prison

LISBON, OHIO — A small group of protesters gathered outside the Federal Corrections Institution in Elkton Saturday morning, apparently concerned about inmates inside where COVID-19 cases continue to be reported.

Word of the protesters began circulating just before 11 a.m., but upon arrival by the media at the prison, none were visible and federal guards at the entrance denied having seen any protesters.

Later in the afternoon, however, Joseph Mayle, president of the Law Enforcement Officers Union at FCI Elkton, confirmed there had been about six family members of current inmates protesting outside the Elkton prison.

“I was told by the executive staff about the protesters,” Mayle said. “It was six inmate family members.”

Asked if he knew what, specifically, those gathered were protesting, Mayle said, “What I was told is one sign said, ‘Release my baby,’ so my assumption is, yes, they wanted someone released.”

He was uncertain where the protesters were from.

In a previous interview, the mother of one inmate had said he was hoping to hear that he might be one of those considered for home confinement due to the COVID-19 virus, which has resulted in the death of three inmates and the hospitalization of many.

Her son, who is in his 30s, has a chronic health condition that she said could make him more susceptible to suffering a more serious case of COVID-19. His sentence will be complete in July.

An inmate, using a contraband cell phone, had also recorded in recent days a video in which he claimed inmates were sick and being allowed to die inside the prison, but Mayle has said that video was “staged” as a publicity stunt and that the inmates shown in the video have been tested and are not positive for COVID-19.

Mayle released the most current figures Saturday that showed 41 inmates currently hospitalized, with 17 of those on ventilators. Another 10 inmates are currently housed in the Bridge Unit 10, a unit Mayle said was just implemented Friday.

He explained the unit “is where the inmates are a little worse than the isolation unit. They get oxygen and a little more assistance but (are) not quite ill enough to be sent to the hospital.” They are under National Guard observation, Mayle added.

Without enough tests available to test all inmates, Mayle said those in the Bridge Unit “either have been tested positive or they are symptomatic of the virus.”

In addition, he said there are 41 inmates in isolation and eight in quarantine, with 14 staff members also reported positive for the virus.

By comparison, on Friday, there were 42 inmates hospitalized, with 18 of those on ventilators, 60 in isolation, six in quarantine and 13 staff members positive.

There have been no additional inmate deaths than the three reported April 2 and there have been no staff member deaths.

Meanwhile, the number of positive cases county-wide increased again Saturday, according to figures released by the Columbiana County Health District, which reported 95 positive cases compared to 90 on Friday and six deaths, which is no increase.

It was noted the numbers reported Saturday morning by the county health department might not be reflected in the total released later in the afternoon by the Ohio Department of Health, and that proved true, with the ODOH reporting 96 cases, with 64 hospitalizations. The number of deaths remained the same at six.

Pictured at top: Guards stop anyone from entering the Federal Correctional Institute at Elkton.

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