New Report Finds More Than 122,000 People In Solitary Confinement In The United States

Figures Exceed Previous Counts Because They Include All People in Solitary in Prisons and Jails for 22 or More Hours a Day, and Are Based on the Most Reliable Available Sources Washington, DC — The watchdog group Solitary Watch and the advocacy coalition Unlock the Box today released a groundbreaking joint report showing that at least 122,840 people are locked daily in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails for 22 or more hours a day. Calculating Torture ( LINK ) is the first report to combine the use of solitary in local and federal jails in addition to state and federal prisons. It is based on analysis of data recently released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) as well as by state prison systems that did not report to BJS, and data from a survey of local jails conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice.

Ohio Senate tries to abolish death penalty, again

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) - For the sixth time in a row, a bill introduced at the Ohio Statehouse will aim to end the death penalty in the Buckeye State — a measure gaining increasing bipartisan support as the years go by.

However, the Ohio House may prove an obstacle in getting the bill across the finish line.

Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) introduced her latest bill in a news conference this week, to end Ohio's practice of putting prisoners to death. She last introduced a similar measure in March 2020, also with Republican support — but in a legislative year that was quickly overcome by the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's time to take for the state of Ohio to take the compassionate, pragmatic and economically prudent step to abolish the death penalty," Sen. Antonio said, noting that prosecutions and numerous appeals in death penalty cases often take years and millions of taxpayer dollars — while still housing those death row inmates and providing meals and facilities, much like other prisoners.

Sen. Antonio has notable bipartisan support for the measure, as she did in 2020, including from staunch conservatives like Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), who noted this week that she is unapologetically pro-life on abortion measures.

"Life is sacred; it's sacred from conception till natural death," Sen. Roegner said. "And yeah, I've done a lot of work on the front end of that equation, but there is certainly work to be done on the back end, too."

Support appears to extend to the governor's office, where Republican Mike DeWine has also signaled his willingness to move away from the death penalty. DeWine suspended all executions upon entering office, in order to study the issue of how Ohio executes death row inmates, given that lethal drugs are near-impossible to come by.

DeWine has focused his efforts for more than a year on reforms to take guns away from convicted violent felons, which he believes would be more deterrent that capital punishment.

"I'm putting my energy into, frankly, things that I think will save lives and...really make a difference and keep Ohio families safer," DeWine said Thursday.

Despite the Senate and governor's support, however, the Ohio House may remain a sticking point with its large conservative Republican majority, and a Speaker who still supports the ultimate punishment.

“I believe there are instances where the death penalty is appropriate," House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said in a statement Friday. "In reading the horrific details of cases before the Supreme Court when I served as a Justice, there were some instances of such cruelty that it was hard to wrap one’s mind around it."

"The death penalty is appropriate when it comes to the worst of the worst," he added, noting that Ohio did pass a measure in 2020 to eliminate the death penalty for convicted murderers who suffer from serious mental illness or disability.

Those affected most by the death penalty, outside of death row inmates, are often split on the usefulness of capital punishment. Jonathan Mann, whose father was murdered by death row inmate Thomas Knuff in 2017, now advocates for the end of Ohio's death penalty with the group "Ohioans To Stop Executions."

"I'll be 40 this year; if appeals take 20 years and Thomas [Knuff] started his appeals in 2020, I'll be 60," said Mann. "It's extremely painful. You have to re-live this trauma over and over again."

Source: local12.com, Geoff Redick, February 21, 2021

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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