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Columbus, OH 43215


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Statement from President Pro Tem Brown on COVID-19 Infections Among Imprisoned Ohioans

[COLUMBUS, OH] The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Columbus City Council President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown:

"It is a matter of basic human rights that we uphold the welfare of incarcerated people. No matter why a resident is behind bars, governments cannot escape the responsibility that their custodial role confers upon them.

Elizabeth Brown Head Shot"The deaths and infections caused by COVID-19 in the Marion and Pickaway Correctional Institutions have catapulted Marion and Pickaway Counties to the first and fourth highest counties in the nation in per-capita infection rate. However, much of what sets them apart is likely just the extent of testing made available. We can only assume that viral spread in other facilities is worse than we know.

"It bears repeating that due to this country’s history of racist incarceration practices, the consequences of high infection rates inside Ohio’s jails, prisons, and ICE detention facilities will disproportionately harm African Americans, Latinx people, and immigrants.

"COVID-19 has already catalyzed action at all levels of government, but we must do more to release as many people as possible, including all people detained on civil immigration charges, many of whom are our Columbus residents. For those still incarcerated, the government is their custodian and must ensure proper social distancing, free and accessible hygiene supplies, and robust medical care.

"Maintaining incarcerated populations as high as they are and failing to infuse needed resources into the system will imperil incarcerated people, corrections officers, their families, and their broader communities."