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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Ohio: Death-row inmates due in Toledo in ‘near future’

Toledo Correctional Institution
Ohio's Toledo Correctional Institution
Seven months after announcing the move, state prison officials are releasing few details about a transfer of Ohio’s death row inmates to Toledo.

More than 100 prisoners awaiting execution will leave the Chillicothe facility for housing at Toledo Correctional Institution. Executions, however, will continue about 200 miles away in Lucasville.

Ryan Jones, president of the union representing Toledo correctional officers, said administrators told him the new inmates are expected this summer. “They are being very extraordinarily tight-lipped about when the actual move will take place,” Mr. Jones said.

In the meantime, the prison slowly is emptying designated housing after inmates’ terms expire in anticipation of the condemned prisoners’ arrivals, Mr. Jones said.

Mr. Jones said bringing in death-row inmates puts additional stress on corrections officers who already manage prisoners on a wide range of security levels. Officers undoubtedly still will keep residents safe, he said.

“Basically, a prison operates on consistency, routine, and everything being as normal as we can make it,” Mr. Jones said.

The state department picked Toledo because its newer high-security facility is better equipped for inmates with physical and mobility problems.

JoEllen Smith, an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokesman, said in statement Monday she could not release a date or transportation details for “security reasons.”

“The process of moving groups of inmates is both a security and a logistical challenge; however, DRC has a well-developed transportation system for individual, small group, and large group transports,” she said.

Ms. Smith said in October the move between Chillicothe and Toledo would occur “in the near future.”

May figures show 139 inmates on Ohio’s death row, including 11 sentenced in Lucas County, among a statewide prison population of nearly 50,300. Ohio’s annual average cost per inmate is about $26,400.

Source: The Blade, Ryan Dunn, June 6, 2017

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