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Published: Monday, 5/19/2014

Sitting on death row, inmates complain about birds that get into cells through open windows


COLUMBUS — 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 said it’s addressing the problem, which apparently dates back at least two years, according to a complaint from an inmate in the report by the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.

“Put the screens on the outside of the windows as you promised for 2 years to keep out the birds,” one 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, spokesman JoEllen Smith said.

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