Ohio inmates in 2nd week of hunger strike over program cuts

AP News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2015 4:52 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Inmates at Ohio's highest-security prison have entered the second week of a hunger strike protesting recreation and programming restrictions that include a ban on religious gatherings.

A prisons department spokeswoman says nine inmates at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown have refused meals in a protest that began March 19. The prison houses Ohio's super-maximum security lockdown.

Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said Friday most inmates have been prohibited from roaming their enclosed housing units freely and group programming has been halted for the highest-security inmates. She cites safety and security concerns, including a serious assault on staff.

Hunger-striking inmates argue religious programming is a constitutionally protected right.

Smith says inmates still have access to one-on-one religious services.