By Sandy . . . A mother whose son is incarcerated in a federal prison in Ohio and may have Covid-19 reached out to me. After verifying the facts she had given me, I wrote an article and sent it to all of the major newspapers in Ohio. The Vindicator printed it. They have edited the end, seriously weakening my outrage and my anger. This is the link to their printing, and I am printing my piece here without the edits.
The names used are pseudonyms.
Frantic over the possibility that her incarcerated son has Covid-19 and is not being tested or properly treated, Angie is desperately reaching out for help to anyone who will listen.
Matthew is an inmate at the Elkton Federal Institution in Lisbon, Ohio. He is deemed low risk and has email privileges. He has written his mother and father that he is being quarantined, along with others, in an isolation unit at the prison. His symptoms include temperature, shortness of breath, low blood oxygen level, vomiting, and body and muscle pain, including severe headache.
Elkton, an institution of over 2,000 individuals, was allotted only five Covid-19 testing kits. A recent article confirmed that at least 80 inmates there have symptoms and at least three have tested positive, with one death confirmed from the virus.
Angie and Paul, Matthew’s father, have repeatedly tried for days to reach the facility with no success; the telephone rings with no answer. The Ohio Department of Health has also tried unsuccessfully to get through by telephone to the institution.
The parents are frantic. Their son should be given routine diagnostic exams, such as blood work and a chest x-ray as his symptoms could be caused from something other than Covid-19. He should be receiving oxygen treatments regardless. He should be tested for the virus. He should be released to a hospital where these medical procedures can be performed since our federal prisons seem unable to extend even the most basic of medical care to those for whom they are responsible.
At their last communication from him, none of these things were happening.
Keeping low-level inmates incarcerated during this health crisis is criminal.
Having only five testing kits available for a large prison, one where there have been confirmed cases of Covid-19 with one already resulting in death, is criminal.
Failing to keep parents apprised of the condition of their ill son is cruel and criminal.
What is happening in Elkton Federal Institution and other such institutions is definitely criminal.
It is murder.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.