3 Ohio inmates end hunger strike over conditions

YOUNGSTOWN (AP) — Three Ohio inmates sentenced to death have ended a hunger strike after winning less-restrictive conditions, the prison system and an inmate advocate said today.

Carlos Sanders, Keith Lamar and Jason Robb began their protest two weeks ago, taking only water and coffee at the supermax Ohio State Penitentiary. They ended the protest Friday.

The changes cover the three hunger strikers and a fourth prisoner kept in the 102-inmate administrative maximum-security unit of the prison. Other condemned prisoners are at the prison’s death row unit.

The prison system said concessions had been under consideration before the protest and include “semi-contact” visits, typically a slot allowing hand-holding.

“That’s something that these men have not had for almost 18 years,” according to Staughton Lynd, an activist on behalf of the inmates.

“The basic problem for these men is that they have just been starved of normal contact with other human beings, except for prison guards.”

Inmates also won more recreation time and access to computer-based legal research.

The concessions, first reported by The Columbus Dispatch, were confirmed by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

The changes are meant to make conditions consistent for condemned inmates held in different prison units, prison agency spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

“The issues that are being addressed were things that have been discussed prior to this hunger strike taking place,” Smith said.

The health of the hunger strikers was monitored during their protest.

Sanders, Lamar and Robb are under death sentences for killings during the 1993 Lucasville prison uprising that left one guard and nine inmates dead.

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