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An unusual prison assignment for Ohio's Amish hate-crime defendants
Members of an Amish sect convicted of federal hate crimes will be scattered to prisons in the West and South

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

An Amish bishop convicted of hate crimes last month is to be sent to a federal prison in Texas. His lawyer says it’s unusual to move any prisoner so far from home, and a real hardship in this case. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the latest twist on a case that has had plenty of them.

SCHULTZE: Amish prison assignment fought

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Authorities had planned to send 67-year-old Samuel Mullet Sr. to Pennsylvania to serve his 15-year sentence. That’s not terribly close to his tiny eastern Ohio community of Bergholz in Jefferson County.

But Mullet’s attorney, Edward Bryan, says it could have been manageable, especially since many of his followers and fellow defendants were expected to be even closer, in the federal prison in Columbiana County.

But Bryan says he learned this week that Mullet is to be sent to Texarkana, and the others to prisons in at least five states, none of them closer than Illinois. He maintains that makes family visits unlikely.

“They don’t drive themselves. They don’t own vehicles themselves. So they’re going to have to hire drivers at great expense to be able to be transported hundreds of miles and in some instances over a thousand miles, which is a burden is I think is unique to them because the vast majority of federal prisoners are housed in facilities that are within reasonable travel distance to their loved ones.”

Bryan says prison officials gave him two reasons for the change: Prisons in the northeast are overcrowded. And when he asked why they could not be housed together outside the region, the answer was security.

The 16 defendants were convicted in attacks on other Amish, which included breaking into their homes and shaving their beards and cutting their hair. 

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