Prisons in Ohio have been and still are a consistent hotspot for COVID 19 cases. Over 80% of inmates at Marion Correctional Institution tested positive for COVID 19. As of May 6th 27 staff members and 14 youth tested positive at Franklin County's juvenile detention center in downtown Columbus. Statewide, 37 prison inmates have died from COVID-19. These rates are staggering.
Ohio prisons are overcrowded. During a time when social distancing is the saving grace against the spread of a deadly disease, overcrowding is deeply concerning. Ohio is mass testing inmates as a response to the climbing infection rates and has made attempts to implement health and safety measures. Although this is a step in the right direction, the magnitude of the infection rate in overcrowded conditions is deeply problematic.
Religious leaders continue to express their pastoral care and concern for corrections staff, inmates, and their families as well as for returning citizens as they reenter into society. As of one year with the Diocese of Columbus, Bishop Brennan has accompanied Catholic chaplains and volunteers and celebrated Mass for the inmates at several correctional institutions with plans to continue the outreach to other locations throughout the diocese.