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Ohio Group Seeking Freedom For Elderly Inmates Holds Protest

A group that has pushed the Ohio Parole Board to allow elderly inmates who've served long prison sentences to go free has held a protest in downtown Columbus for its third consecutive Christmas.

Universal Support Network founder and president Dessalines Weaver of Cincinnati says around 20 people gathered holding signs in front of the parole board's empty offices on Friday afternoon. Weaver says he created the group because of the board's repeated refusals to grant his cousin parole. Sixty-two-year-old Norman Whiteside went to prison in 1986 after being convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder in Columbus.

Weaver says too many inmates in their 70s and 80s, many of them infirm, aren't being paroled even though they're not a threat to anyone.


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Associated Press