Sitting on death row, inmates complain about birds

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 19, 2014 at 3:40 pm •  Published: May 19, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Inmates on Ohio's death row complain that birds and bird droppings are getting into their cells through open windows, according to a report released Monday by an inspection committee reviewing conditions at the prison where condemned killers are housed.

The state says it's addressing the problem, which apparently dates back at least two years, according to a complaint from one inmate in the report by the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, a bi-partisan legislative panel that conducts unannounced reviews of the state's prisons.

"Put the screens on the outside of the windows as you promised for 2 years to keep out the birds," the inmate said, adding that the birds' droppings attract "vermin."

"Unsanitary," another inmate called the bird situation on death row, located at Chillicothe Correctional Institution south of Columbus. "It's filthy upstairs, dead rats, birds and bird poop is getting everyone sick."

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction had ordered mesh screens before the committee's inspection in March and hopes to have them installed on windows and in the visitors' area by July, said spokeswoman JoEllen Smith.

"The goal is to have each window installed with the mesh screen, allowing the fresh airflow to continue but prevent access from birds entering through the windows," Smith said in an email.

While another inmate from the non-death row part of the prison complained of pigeon feces being "everywhere you walk and all over windows," many inmates said that they liked the fact that windows are open.

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