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Report: Ohio Overusing Solitary Confinement

A report from two advocacy groups says Ohio prisons are using solitary confinement too often, and that it doesn’t help inmates who will eventually be released or help make prisons safer. The groups are pushing the state to make changes.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and Disability Rights Ohio say that nearly 3,000 inmates are confined alone in cells the size of parking places, and a quarter of them are mentally ill.

The ACLU’s Adrienne Gavula notes the state’s juvenile lockups have reduced solitary confinement by 80 percent in a deal with the federal justice department.

“Consequently, violence decreased. And that’s what you see in the adult side too. And it’s counter-intuitive what people think, but it’s actually what happens.”

The state prisons department disputes the report’s figures, and says only those who pose a clear and direct threat are placed in restricted housing, and that it’s cut back the number of people in solitary confinement and the length of stays.

This will be the topic on this week’s TV show “The State of Ohio” on public television.