An incarcerated patient at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla has died of issues related to COVID-19 according to the Washington State Department of Corrections. Michael Cornethan passed away on Saturday, Nov. 21, at a medical facility near the prison, according to the DOC. He was 62 years old.
Advocates push for more widespread and frequent testing, and for the release of more prisoners. As of Nov. 20, New York has recorded 1,713 positive cases among the incarcerated population, 1,676 positive cases among staff and 122 positive cases among parolees since the start of the pandemic. Eighteen incarcerated individuals have died from the virus, as have five staff and four parolees. Health hazards in prisons have a disproportionate impact on people of color. According to state statistics, Black New Yorkers made up 48% of state prison sentences in 2018, despite representing just 15% of the total population that year.
A surge of inmate deaths this month related to the coronavirus has led to renewed calls on the state to take additional steps to protect Missouri’s prison population. In all, 27 inmates and four Department of Corrections staffers have died from complications of COVID-19, a spokeswoman reported. At least 17 inmate deaths and two staff deaths have been recorded this month.
The federal prison system will be among the first government agencies to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, though initial allotments will be given to staff and not to inmates, even though infected prisoners vastly outnumber sickened staff, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
Roughly two million people confined in the nation’s prisons and jails face a grim challenge: how to stay alive inside a system being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. Like the nation overall, U.S. correctional facilities are experiencing record spikes in coronavirus infections this fall. During the week of Nov. 17, there were 13,657 new coronavirus infections reported across the state and federal prison systems.
Nevada prison officials say they’ve identified just two people in a population of nearly 14,000 who might be eligible for an early release on the basis of their susceptibility to COVID-19 and other factors, even as more than 80 percent of the inmate population in a Carson City prison has tested positive for coronavirus.
During the current fall surge where cases have topped 12 million nationally as of Saturday, the maps have illustrated a more troubling scenario: The highly contagious virus is everywhere. The dramatic change means there are now positive coronavirus cases in 22 of the state’s 24 correctional institutions, putting advocates — and families with loved ones on the inside — on edge. As of Friday, there were 824 active cases. Six days earlier, the total was about half that figure. To date, 23 prisoners have died from COVID-19 in nine correctional facilities. Twelve have died since October.
Waylon Young Bird is among at least seven inmates who have died this month amid an outbreak at a federal prison medical center in Missouri. In a letter dated Oct. 28, he wrote that dozens of inmates in his unit had tested positive but he was, so far, one of the lucky ones. “I’m afraid I may be infected by the time you read this letter,” he wrote. “Please as a compassionate judge, can you help me thru this situation.” Young Bird tested positive for the virus the next day. He died exactly a week later, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
The number of active COVID-19 cases among Michigan's prisoners has reached what's believed to be an all-time high during the pandemic, with 4,010 current infections in facilities across the state. And last week, the Department of Corrections reported a record number of new cases in a single day, logging a staggering 1,137 additional prisoner and staff cases on Nov. 12.
At least 800 inmates housed by the Utah Department of Corrections are infected with COVID-19, and two have died in the past week.
In June, the Nevada Department of Corrections not only failed to mandate mask use by residents and staff, it issued a policy prohibiting incarcerated people from wearing face coverings, citing “the risk of escape.” This cruel and misguided logic fails to protect those under the department’s charge and actively sabotages people’s ability to protect themselves. Thus far, the state’s treatment of COVID-19 in correctional facilities has been grossly inadequate.
An Oshkosh prison is reporting one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks among all state prisons with nearly half of its total inmate population having been infected. Some family members accused the Wisconsin Department of Corrections of not doing enough to protect their loved ones.
The number of inmates in Michigan prisons testing positive for COVID-19 has more than doubled in just two weeks. Currently, 2,790 inmates are considered active positive cases. The number was about 1,200 two weeks ago.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases being reported in Minnesota has been breaking records, with the Minnesota Department of Health reporting 8,689 new cases and 35 new deaths as of November 14. The state has a cumulative total of 220,960 positive confirmed cases and growing.
Hundreds of National Guard soldiers are still responding to COVID-19 in South Carolina, and dozens of them are helping in our prisons. The South Carolina Department of Corrections has reported more than 2,400 cases of COVID-19 in inmates, more than 550 cases in staff members, and 33 deaths associated with the virus.
Two weeks into an outbreak, the number of COVID-19 cases at Goose Creek Correctional Center in Point MacKenzie keeps climbing. The facility now has 204 cases, all of which are active, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections. That is an increase of more than 90 since the last report eight days ago.
Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, Texas' El Paso County is paying prison inmates $2 an hour to move the bodies of deceased victims of the disease. While prison labor is a common practice across the U.S., the reliance on inmates to handle the task of moving the corpses of COVID-19 victims is raising questions about the ethics of such work.
The state Department of Corrections reported 808 new COVID-19 cases among inmates--the highest single-day spike in cases in the state prison system since the start of the pandemic. The new infections bring the total number of COVID-19 cases among inmates up to 6,977 and the active case count to 2,063, according to DOC’s data dashboard.
One in every five of the 10,165 inmates housed in Kentucky’s 14 state prisons has been infected with COVID-19 since March, with state data showing active outbreaks this week involving nearly 800 people at five different prisons. “The news from the corrections front is not good,” said J. Michael Brown, secretary of Gov. Andy Beshear’s cabinet, during the governor’s Monday afternoon news conference. So far, 2,028 state inmates and 281 prison employees have been infected by COVID-19, state data shows.
Note to Ed: Start here for issue #11
With more than 23,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas’ prisons, incarcerated Texans are testing positive at a rate 40% higher than the national prison population average, according to a new report from the University of Texas at Austin. And with at least 190 inmate deaths linked to the virus, the state’s death rate is 35% higher than the rest of the U.S. prison population, the report found. Texas, which has the largest population of people behind bars in the country, has led the nation for most COVID-19 prison and jail deaths of any system in the country.
After recent coronavirus outbreaks at several Massachusetts prisons, universal testing of state prisoners and staff began Nov. 14. The Department of Correction says correctional facilities will be in modified operations for two weeks as tests are conducted on prisoners and staff at all 16 state prisons.
In recent weeks the virus has made inroads in all 11 state prisons infecting hundreds of inmates and staff. Corrections Department spokesman Eric Harrison said the outbreaks were inevitable, given the steep spike in virus cases throughout New Mexico in recent weeks. The department is doing everything possible to ensure the safety of workers and prisoners, he added.
Authorities in Sri Lanka say about 400 inmates from the country's highly-congested prisons have tested positive for COVID-19 as infected cases are surging in the capital and its suburbs. Twelve of the 400 are prison officers while the rest are inmates. The cases are detected from five prisons in different parts of the country. Sri Lankan prisons are highly congested with more than 26,000 inmates crowded in facilities designed to hold about 10,000.
Minnesota’s prison system is facing one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation following a massive spike in infections over the last few weeks, new data shows. After a relatively quiet stretch of several months, the state now has the 6th highest infection rate among prison inmates in the country and the 3rd highest among corrections staff. Last week, Minnesota had the highest rate of new inmate cases in the nation, the data show.
The “devastating human toll” of Covid-19 in Texas’s correctional facilities is revealed in a new report by University of Texas at Austin researchers. Over 80 percent of those who died of Covid-19 in Texas county jails were never convicted of a crime.
The number of prisoners who have tested positive for coronavirus in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic more than doubled in the space of a month in October, figures reveal.
At the end of October, 1,529 prisoners had tested positive for Covid-19 since March, an increase of 883 on the September figure, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures show. The MoJ has been testing all symptomatic prisoners since April.
Iowa prisons recorded the third-most new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. this week, according to a report by The Marshall Project. The week of Nov. 10, Iowa saw more than 1,032 prisoners test positive for COVID-19. Only Texas and the federal prison system recorded more new virus cases by Tuesday, with 2,119 and 1,311 new cases, respectively. Michigan prisons also reported 1,011 new virus cases this week. No other state reported more than 1,000 new cases in the same time frame.
In the midst of last month's COVID-19 outbreak at Richland Correctional Institution, the Ohio National Guard was deployed to the prison to cover staffing gaps. Over a quarter of Richland Correctional's 392 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The number of positive cases reported by the department stood at 442 prisoners and 244 staff. “Twenty-one of the 23 state prisons have active cases. There has not been a single time during this pandemic that there have been that many active cases.” So far, 17 incarcerated people have died — six of them since mid-October, at six institutions around the state.
Within a week, 23 inmates and 17 staff members were found to be infected. One inmate, Charles Viney Jr., a 66-year-old with a collapsed lung, died hours after testing positive. Within a month, more than three-quarters of Pickaway’s roughly 2,000 inmates were confirmed positive. By the end of May, 35 were dead.
More Texas jail and prison inmates and staff have been infected and killed by COVID-19 than those of any other state’s criminal justice system, according to a university report. At least 231 inmates and staff members have died of COVID-19 in Texas prisons and jails, according to the report by the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. The study also found that Texas inmates and staff tested positive for the coronavirus virus that causes COVID-19 at a 490% higher rate than the state’s general population. Also, nine Texas inmates approved for parole died in prison before their release.
The South Dakota Department of Corrections in its weekday updates of COVID-19 in the state's prisons said that 184 inmates at the Rapid City Community Work Center have tested positive, and just one has reported recovering.
Two Maryland inmates died from COVID-19 late last month, bringing the total number of inmate coronavirus deaths to 13, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. More than 1,000 inmates have contracted the virus since March. Two correctional workers have died, according to the department, and 808 guards, correctional staff and contract workers have tested have tested positive for the virus.
A group of New Jersey members of Congress on Monday called on the federal Bureau of Prisons to halt inmate transfers to Fort Dix correctional institution — which has the second most current cases of COVID-19 of any federal prison in the country — until it implements a testing strategy and there are no active cases.
COVID-19 cases at the Benton County jail continue to rise, with the case count now hitting triple digits. The jail has had 190 detainees and 16 employees test positive for COVID-19. Over the last several weeks, KNWA/FOX24 has heard from concerned families and loved ones of inmates in Benton County. A day after getting tested for coronavirus, Brent Alexander was released from the Benton County jail before knowing his COVID-19 status. He said after many requests for the results, he learned he was COVID-19 positive-two days after his release.
Two inmates died of coronavirus this week in Minnesota prisons, bringing the total deaths in state correctional facilities to four, according to a prisoners union. The Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, which says more than 1,000 inmates and 200 prison staff members have been infected with COVID-19 in Minnesota, will rally outside Stillwater prison to declare a “state of emergency” in the state’s correctional facilities.
John Dailey tried to sue over COVID-19 conditions at his prison, but he died before his case could be filed. Butner Correctional Complex, a sprawling facility about an hour outside Raleigh, is North Carolina’s only federal prison. More prisoners have died of COVID-19 at Butner than at any other prison run by the federal government nationwide. That’s what prompted a long-awaited lawsuit filed last week, which seeks safer conditions for prisoners inside of what it calls “the deadliest of all federal facilities during this pandemic.”
Nearly 500 inmates at the Anamosa State Penitentiary have COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections.
State prison officials have ordered a lockdown at a medium-security facility in Northern Nevada after 93 inmates and seven staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The Nevada Department of Corrections said that additional sanitation measures have been deployed, and all meals are being delivered to individual units during the lockdown.
Like the rest of Massachusetts, there are increased cases of the coronavirus in state correctional facilities, including 140 prisoners who have now tested positive at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Norfolk.
More than 2,000 inmates in New Jersey were released in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in the state’s prison system — almost a month after the state passed one of the first bills in the U.S. to reduce sentences because of the pandemic. Liz Velez, a New Jersey Department of Corrections spokesperson, told NBC News in an email that 2,261 adults nearing the end of their prison sentences were released early Wednesday amid rising coronavirus cases in some state prisons.e than 2,000 New Jersey inmates released to slow spread of coronavirus in prisons.
Nearly 700 El Paso County jail inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, the sheriff's office announced Tuesday, making Colorado Springs home to the state’s largest outbreak among inmates since the pandemic started. The fast-spreading virus has infected 690 inmates out of 1,229 in custody, marking a nearly tenfold increase in five days and surpassing all other outbreaks in penal institutions reported by state public health officials, data show.
The COVID-19 outbreak at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham has grown to 81 confirmed cases, the state Department of Corrections said Tuesday.
The department said 72 inmates and nine staff members have tested positive using rapid antigen tests.
Alaska’s largest prison is now home to the latest outbreak of the coronavirus in the state’s correctional system. Twenty-two inmates and five staff at Goose Creek Correctional Center near Wasilla have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Sarah Gallagher, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Corrections.
COVID-19 Cases Among Hawaii Inmates In Arizona Now At 378
Mass testing of Hawaii convicts who are serving their sentences in a privately run Arizona prison has identified 317 new cases of COVID-19, according to a written announcement from the state Department of Public Safety.
An inmate at a central California prison died of complications from the coronavirus Saturday, authorities said, becoming the state’s 79th person to have a fatal case of COVID-19 while they were incarcerated. There have been 15,872 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state prison system, according to online statistics. The virus has killed more than 17,500 Californians and infected more than 900,000.
Prison officials say coronavirus testing continues at MCI-Norfolk after an outbreak at the prison last week. Prisoners and attorneys say dozens of men held at Norfolk have tested positive for the virus. It's the third outbreak at a state correctional facility since the end of September.
All but 12 states and the District of Columbia charge fees to prisoners who ask to see a doctor; officials say they want to discourage prisoners from abusing the medical system or stretching staff too thin.Rates are set by each state, ranging from $2 to $8 each time a prisoner seeks a visit, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, a national think tank. But low wages in prisons mean this fee could be equivalent to a week’s work, and the cost can discourage prisoners from seeking care.
An eighth inmate at Avenal State Prison has now died after getting the coronavirus while incarcerated. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation hasn't released that person's name yet, but says 24 other inmates at Avenal State Prison have the virus right now.
At least 56 inmates tested positive for the coronavirus last week at a privately run federal jail in downtown San Diego that houses mostly pretrial inmates, according to defense attorneys briefed on the matter.
The number of COVID-19 cases inside Federal Ccorrectional Iinstitution at Fort Dix nearly tripled on twe days earler, according to data reported by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
As of Oct. 30, 165 inmates inside the federal prison had tested positive for the virus, nearly tripling the 59 cases the previous day. Eight staff members have also tested positive.
84 inmates and four staff members at The Bell County Forestry Camp tested positive for COVID-19.
Health department officials reported five new cases on Saturday. The county currently has 179 active cases.
Inmates and even prison employees refusing to wear masks despite mask mandates. In the eight months since COVID-19 arrived in Oregon, prisoners. Again and again, they’ve relayed frightening stories about life in Oregon’s prisons in the age of COVID-19: Sleeping in dormitories with 50, 80 or more than 100 inmates packed so tightly they can stretch out their arms and touch prisoners on either side. The constant hacking coughs from others echoing throughout the room. Falling ill with symptoms of COVID-19 yet being refused a test and instead being forced to work, potentially exposing countless others.
The COVID-19 outbreak at Waupun Correctional Institution is now so large that prison workers can no longer isolate sick inmates from those who are healthy. Last spring, Waupun dealt with a major COVID-19 outbreak that peaked at 224 cases. Now, it's in the midst of an even larger outbreak nearly twice that size, and in a memo to staff, the warden says this outbreak appears to be resulting in illnesses that are "much more severe."
Cases of COVID-19 more than doubled over the weekend among two South Dakota prisons, and a fourth facility reached more than 100 cases among inmates. The South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls saw the biggest increase of cases over the weekend, with triple the number of inmates testing positive. The facility reported 506 inmates with the virus, up from 166 inmates on Friday. Four inmates have reportedly recovered there, leaving more than 500 active cases at the prison, and 190 have tested negative. The penitentiary has the largest number of staff infections, with 35 reporting testing positive, 10 recovering and 42 testing negative.
A coronavirus outbreak has ripped through an upstate New York prison where access to medical services and sanitation have long been criticized by advocates and many inmates housed in the facility. Nearly 40% of inmates housed at the Elmira Correctional Facility, a state prison in Elmira, New York, were COVID-19 positive — 588 out of a population of 1,515, according to data released by the state's Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Florida prisoners are being infected and dying at dramatically higher rates than Florida’s overall population — more than four times higher as to infections, half again as great as with deaths. That’s despite the Department of Corrections isolating those who are ill and enforcing the masking and social distancing provisions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Prison employees are at greater risk also. The 1,313 infections reported among officers and others represent a rate more than three times higher than that of Floridians generally.
Cases of COVID-19 more than doubled over the weekend among two South Dakota prisons, and a fourth facility reached more than 100 cases among inmates. The South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls saw the biggest increase of cases over the weekend, with triple the number of inmates testing positive. The facility reported 506 inmates with the virus, up from 166 inmates. The penitentiary has the largest number of staff infections, with 35 reporting testing positive.
Pender Correctional Institution currently has the most active COVID-19 cases among prisons in North Carolina. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, a total of 208 Pender inmates have tested positive for the virus.
The novel coronavirus has torn through a prison in Marquette, infecting 75% of the more than 1,000 men housed there since the pandemic started in March. And 42% of the 327 employees at Marquette Branch Prison in the Upper Peninsula had tested positive for COVID-19.
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through America’s jails and prisons, the federal government moved to further punish the imprisoned by denying them access to economic stimulus funds — money that inmates and their families desperately need. Fortunately, a California federal district judge has intervened, ruling the Internal Revenue Service must send stimulus payments of up to $1,200 to the millions of state and federal inmates.
Almost 300 inmates at the Mike Durfee State Prison have tested positive for COVID-19 and about 1 in 4 inmates at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls has the virus. Three South Dakota prison facilities have now had more than 100 inmates test positive for COVID-19. Staff there have reported 11 cases.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) has filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday to force the Minnesota Department of Corrections to protect people in its custody from COVID-19. The lawsuit Arnold Baker et al v. Minnesota Department of Corrections alleges that the DOC has failed to put in measures to stop or even slow the transmission of coronavirus, and has violated its legal obligation to protect the people in its custody from the virus, including denying medical release to people with conditions that put them at grave risk.
The criminal justice reform movement gained further steam with Gov. Phil Murphy signing off on four bills that make a youth defendant’s age a mitigating factor, release terminally ill patients, establish a rehabilitation fund and offer credits to inmates for doing “COVID time.”
Results from the most recent round of COVID-19 testing at Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby show 239 inmates tested positive. That's up from the previously posted numbers of 201 state inmates.
More than 70 inmates in the Cecil County Detention Center in Elkton have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, six times the number reported just seven days earlier, according to the Maryland Department of Health. The totals show that 16 staff members also have contracted the coronavirus, up from nine the previous week.
The virus spread as inmate advocates began to call for early release of those who are frail or near the end of their prison terms, and outbreaks have continued with no indication the state will go beyond its routine procedures for release.
More than 150 inmates at a minimum-to-medium security prison in Springfield have tested positive for COVID-19, just as the departments of corrections and health plan to start sentinel surveillance testing at prisons statewide. The surge past 100 cases was found last week after the Department of Corrections announced a mass testing event at the Mike Durfee State Prison. From that event, 127 inmates tested positive, and as of Friday, 149 had the virus.
Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Alison – a nurse at a prison in Wales – has watched the health of the inmates she looks after deteriorate. “You can see it physically,” she said. “They’re going grey in the face and are constantly tired and worn out. They haven’t had any sunlight.”
The Wolf Administration recently participated in a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine project, which resulted in the report: Decarcerating Correctional Facilities During COVID-19. Released today, the report, which was funded by Arnold Ventures and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offers guidance on efforts to decarcerate, or reduce the incarcerated population, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly three dozen people incarcerated at a state correctional facility in Fairbanks, Alaska, have tested positive for COVID-19, the Alaska Department of Corrections said in a statement. The cases identified Saturday involve 32 men and one woman in the general population at the Fairbanks Correctional Center, the corrections department said.
Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) has the highest number of positive staff cases amongst correctional facilities in the state of Michigan. The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) reported 105 confirmed staff cases at the MBP. It is the only facility with cases in the triple digits. The second highest number of positive staff cases reported is 76, found at Parnell Correctional Facility.
Four prison officers at Hydebank Wood have tested positive for Covid-19. Two prisoners have been put into isolation "as a precaution", a spokesperson for the NI Prison Service said.
Newly obtained confidential statewide data shows that coronavirus outbreaks in workplaces, schools and prisons are driving Illinois’ rising cases — and many of these outbreaks have never been made public. Illinois surpassed 300,000 confirmed cases this past weekend and recorded its highest daily death count since late June on Friday.
Just days after KRDO reported on a COVID-19 outbreak at the Fremont Correctional Facility, the number of cases has skyrocketed this week. On Wednesday, there were 90 active COVID-19 cases reported at the facility in Fremont County, according to statistics provided by the state. On Thursday, that number jumped up to 258 -- 235 inmates and 23 staff members.
Montana State Prison locked down its units Friday due to the festering COVID-19 cases within the facility, according to the Montana Department of Corrections.
The number of inmates at the Montana State Prison infected with COVID-19 jumped from eight to 36 on Friday, while 23 prison employees have also tested positive for the virus, the agency said.
More than 100 inmates at a state minimum to medium security prison have tested positive for COVID-19, the Department of Corrections said Friday. Mass testing at the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield this week resulted in 127 positive tests among inmates and 22 inmates testing negative.
In June, a group of Baltimore City correctional officers gathered outside the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center for a vigil honoring Karen Kennedy. The 60-year-old corrections officer had worked there and contracted COVID-19 in May, eventually succumbing to complications.
COVID-19 outbreaks are still growing fast in the nation’s jails, prisons, and
detention centers, says a new report for the Council on Criminal Justice, a national think tank.
“The current system and operations of facilities of incarceration are not able to protect incarcerated individuals from COVID-19. Changes are urgently needed to diminish the risk of transmission and provide the standard of care to those who have been infected with this disease,” the report says.
A total of seven Hawaii convicts have now tested positive for COVID-19 at the privately run Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona, prompting some inmate advocates to urge more widespread testing of the Hawaii prisoners who are being held there.
A coronavirus outbreak is causing a staffing shortage at a prison in the Upper Peninsula, where about one-third of employees are deemed ineligible to work. Reported infections among staff at Marquette Branch Prison more than doubled. The Michigan Department of Corrections reported 41 new COVID-19 cases among Marquette's staff, bringing the total number of employee cases to 79.
278 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus. “No matter the mistakes they have made on this Earth, our loved one matters to us," said Beth Thompson, one of several family members who gathered outside the Utah Department of Corrections headquarters calling for improved safety measures for their incarcerated husbands, fathers and sons.
Montana's private prison in the northwest corner of the state now has documented positive COVID-19 tests from a third of its inmates. At least 201 of the 586 state inmates at Crossroads Correctional Center had tested positive for the disease.
Twenty-eight prisoners at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn went on hunger strike to protest a lack of safety precautions around COVID-19, prompting the sheriff to say he would test every inmate as soon as possible.
Marquette Branch Prison is receiving reinforcements from Emergency Response Teams and volunteers to make up for the staffing shortage; the approach has been used during outbreaks at other facilities.
Wisconsin's escalating coronavirus crisis reached a distressing level of severity Tuesday, as the state recorded its worst day of the pandemic yet following weeks of record-breaking numbers.
The state Department of Health Services reported 3,279 new cases and 34 deaths due to the coronavirus — both measures the highest of the pandemic. The state crossed the grim threshold of 1,500 total deaths and reported its highest-ever average of new cases: 2,727 a day over the last seven days.
A federal judge recently made clear that those behind bars do qualify for the $1,200 checks, approved by Congress earlier this year as part of the largest economic aid package in U.S. history. U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled the decision to exclude them was arbitrary and capricious.
Nearly 2,500 Missouri prison inmates have been infected with the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to information on the state Department of Corrections' website.
The state reported 2,447 total inmate cases of COVID-19, but just two deaths from the disease. Meanwhile, 710 prison staff members have been infected, with one death.
Testing for COVID-19 last week of all 1,273 inmates in Stillwater prison revealed an outbreak of 90 positive cases as the facility is kept on lockdown to address the deadly disease.
Local state prisons, including Augusta State Medical Prison and Augusta Transitional Center, have seen more than 200 COVID-19 cases, with the majority of them being inmates.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, there have been 124 positive cases among inmates and 71 cases among staff at the medical prison.
The letter says no one confirmed the COVID-19 test results of the cellmates, no one has taken their temperatures, their blood pressure, or done anything to provide medical care... "[my cellmate] says he lost his smell, and his body aches. The anxiety of not knowing is killing us and causing undue stress."
Londell Woodbury, a correctional officer who worked at Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler, died from complications related to COVID-19, Warden Joseph Edwards wrote in an email to prison employees in Northeast Florida. Woodbury was 23. He took a job as a Florida correctional officer in May to chase a dream of becoming a detective, his mother Lawana Brown said.
To date, 31 inmates and 2 staff members have died of COVID-19, according to the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC). There are 522 active cases of the virus in state prisons.
Now, new technology aims to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state prison system. Air ionizers will soon be installed, as new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the virus can infect people indoors sometimes hours later, even if they are more than six feet apart.
Inmates of three housing units at Pender Correctional Institution started small trashcan fires and refused to return to their dorms over a period of five hours on Wednesday night, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Despite the apparent lack of information available, the department wouldn’t refer to the matter as a “riot” or “disturbance,” and instead categorized it as an “incident” as defined by the American Correctional Association (ACA).
A Massachusetts jail has seen a large jump in coronavirus cases among its inmates after widespread COVID-19 testing was conducted over the weekend. Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger reports that 137 inmates at the Middleton House of Correction have tested positive for COVID-19 after 889 of them were tested.
Activists gathered outside dozens of California detention centers and called for Gov. Gavin Newsom to grant mass clemency to inmates in response to surging rates of COVID-19 infections in prisons around the country. Protesters gathered in 30 separate locations outside of various state detention facilities.
The Department of Homeland Security admitted in an internal report that poor social distancing and frequent detainee transfers might have spread the coronavirus in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s jails this year, BuzzFeed reported.
Activists across California on Tuesday nicknamed detention centers and prisons after Gov. Gavin Newsom, as COVID-19 outbreaks have now claimed the lives of nearly 70 incarcerated people throughout the state.
Staff at the Federal Corrections Institution at Allenwood has had a spike in COVID-19 cases among its inmates and corrections staff, officials say. The most recent figure is 47 inmates who are in the medium security penitentiary and six staff have contracted the virus, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons staff.
People living inside Delaware’s prisons treat the threat of the coronavirus just like everybody else. Some are very diligent about frequently cleaning their cells, or wiping down the phone before they use it. Others are less careful to avoid germs. Some are careful to wear their prison-issued face mask. Others not so much.
Five inmates and four staff members tested positive at the Iowa State Penitentiary, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections. The DOC director said most prisons in the Iowa are in "various states of restricted movement due to inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19"
U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that twelve Chester County Prison inmates and their accomplices were charged federally with fraudulently applying for and obtaining emergency unemployment benefits related to COVID-19. The defendants are charged with submitting false applications claiming that the prison inmates lost jobs as a result of the pandemic and are available to work full-time.
New Mexico’s jail population dropped by a third earlier this year as officials agreed to incarcerate fewer people to avoid the spread COVID-19. But the population has crept back up since June and infections have soared among both inmates and staff from 37 cases by early June to nearly 970 as of September 25, according to government data reviewed by New Mexico In Depth.
COVID-19 cases have exploded at the Utah State Prison, which is now reporting 196 active cases — up from just two on Sept. 23. Officials said they believed the coronavirus was introduced by a medic who treated several inmates. Haddon said the coronavirus spreads easily in prisons because people live so closely together, without much flexibility in separating them.
An Oregon man died in custody Monday at the Snake River Correctional Institution outside of Ontario. The Oregon Department of Corrections says he is the twelfth adult to die in custody after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Danville City Jail reported its first case of COVID-19 in an inmate Sept. 30. This weekend, a massive outbreak occurred resulting in positive test rates in the facility over 90 percent.
Frustrated corrections workers at the state’s largest jail say the number of COVID-19 cases inside the facility is climbing again, at least in part because incoming inmates are still not being isolated for 14 days before they are released into the general population. In the last ven days, 41 inmates at the Oahu Community Correctional Center have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Three Snake River Correctional Institution inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 have died at an area hospital in the past three days, bringing to 12 the number of Oregon state prison inmates to die after contracting the virus, the Department of Corrections reported on Oct. 6.
Numerous inmates say Arizona's prison system has failed to provide necessary testing, supplies and treatment during the coronavirus pandemic, with one saying that effectively meant the state's prisoners were sentenced to get infected with COVID-19.
The head of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association said staff at all state prisons should receive hazard pay, not just those working facilities deemed coronavirus hot spots.
A new report by the Maine Department of Corrections revealed serious deficiencies in the state's county jails surrounding COVID-19 protocols.
The Department conducted a statewide review of 14 facilities following the outbreak at the York County Jail that impacted more than half of the jail's staff and inmate population in August. The review found York County was not the only place that failed to mandate mask-wearing among inmates, staff, and visitors.
A total of 185 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 in different jails across the Jammu region, Director General of Prisons V K Singh said on Oct. 3rd. He said temporary jails are being set up in various districts to isolate the asymptomatic positive detenues as part of efforts to ensure safety of the jail inmates and staffers.
Texas has had more inmate deaths related to the coronavirus than any other prison system in the nation. Its death toll of at least 162 inmates outranks every other state as well as the federal prison system. A federal judge ordered the Texas prison system on Tuesday to provide more protective measures against the coronavirus, like hand sanitizer for prisoners who use wheelchairs, at a prison for geriatric inmates.
Two in five inmates at the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution currently have COVID-19.
Wisconsin Department of Corrections data showed 437 inmates infected Tuesday, making up the largest outbreak yet at one of the state's prisons.
The health department said Kansas saw 1,120 new confirmed and probable cases since Monday, an increase of 1.9%, bringing the total to 59,729. Norman said he thinks the state will see cases level off at the current daily increases, then “take off” for a “second wave.” The top public health official in Kansas said that the state has yet to see its biggest wave of coronavirus cases, suggesting the pandemic could spawn an average of 800 or even 900 new cases a day in coming months.
The overcrowded Cascade County Detention Center in Great Falls is one of three Montana jails experiencing COVID outbreaks. In the Great Falls jail alone, 140 cases have been confirmed among inmates and guards since spring, with 60 active cases as of mid-September. By contrast, the Montana state prison system has the second-lowest infection rate in the nation.
In a Sept. 24 letter to DOJ’s Inspector General, the lawmakers raised concerns about unsafe health and safety procedures, COVID-19 outbreaks and shortages of personal protective equipment for staff and incarcerated individuals. The two facilities that lawmakers want included in virtual inspections are the Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg and United States Penitentiary Lee.
A Baltimore city correctional officer died of COVID-19 Monday morning following several months of complications from the virus, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The correctional officer was in his 60s and was a “well-respected” veteran of 26 years.
A study from the Marshall Project shows there may be a correlation between inmates being transferred into Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) facilities and the outbreaks that are currently plaguing them. In early August, courts ruled that the IDOC had to begin taking transfers from county jails again. Just a couple weeks later, COVID-19 cases in correctional facilities around the state began to spike. The IDOC said one directly affects the other.
Another inmate has passed away due to complications from the coronavirus at the Deerfield Correctional Center. The Virginia Department of Corrections reported on Saturday that 14 Deerfield inmates have been killed by COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Over the course of the pandemic, 723 inmates and 35 staff members have contracted the virus. VDOC says there are currently 368 infected inmates on site and 15 hospitalized.
The man’s identity was not immediately released. He is the 22nd inmate of the California Institution for Men whose death has been linked to COVID-19. There were 116 inmates at CIM infected with the virus as of Sept. 20th, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation statistics. More than 100 of those are new cases were reported in the past 14 days.
The ACLU of Virginia claims the corrections department has failed to provide basic safeguards against the virus, such as water to wash hands and social distancing at a number of facilities, and is continuing to move too slowly to release inmates to stem the spread of covid-19.
One reason for the high COVID count in jails and the low count in prisons is that Montana for months halted “county intakes,” or the transfer of people from county jails to the state prison system after conviction. Sheriffs in charge of the county jails blame their outbreaks on overcrowding partly caused by that state policy.
Prison infections continue to lead local coronavirus hotspots. At least seven prisons in rural towns across Oklahoma are coronavirus hotspots, joining some college campuses in the latest weekly jumps in active cases.
The deadly new coronavirus is spreading faster in America’s jails and prisons than it did on the Princess Diamond cruise ship or at the pandemic’s outbreak in Wuhan, China, according to a new study co-authored by Stanford Engineering researchers.
COVID-19 infections at two federal prisons in Minnesota are rising, with nearly half the inmates at one facility testing positive for the disease, raising concerns the virus could spread beyond prison walls.
The Nebraska State Penitentiary went on modified lockdown Thursday, limiting inmate movement due to staff absences because of COVID-19 cases. Two more staff members at the penitentiary tested positive Sept. 23rd for the virus, bringing the total staff with the virus at the prison to 74, more than half of which work at the penitentiary.
3,175 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 1,000 tests are pending.
Commissioners of two city agencies leading efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus in jails told the City Council Monday they’re prepared to handle an outbreak if New York is hit with a second COVID-19 surge this winter — but not everyone was convinced.
Family members of incarcerated New Yorkers and corrections officers are calling on the state’s lawmakers and governor to ensure prisons and jails won’t again face a staffing shortage, barriers to social distancing and dangerous rationing of protective gear ahead of the next COVID-19 surge or pandemic. Testing of people with symptoms at the state’s prisons and New York City jails revealed thousands of COVID-19 infections among incarcerated individuals and guards, who called on the state and New York City to act.
Pennsylvania officials charged nearly two dozen inmates and outside accomplices who allegedly conspired to obtain some $300,000 in fraudulent COVID-19 unemployment benefits. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro charged 20 inmates and accomplices across three state prisons where inmates allegedly gathered personal information from other inmates and distributed them to people on the outside who applied for fraudulent relief funds in their names, officials said.
Theresa Grady is among the advocates and family members who are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to address concerns about the health of more than 36,000 incarcerated individuals in the prison system.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Oklahoma’s prison system have soared since July 22, when the corrections department reported 103 cases following an outbreak at the Lexington Correctional Center. Currently there are 3,160 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus. Nine inmate and three corrections staff deaths may have been caused by COVID-19, according to corrections department data.
Ten inmates with COVID-19 at the Deerfield Correctional Center have now died. Many of the inmates at Deerfield sleep in dormitories, making social distancing difficult if not impossible.
On Sept. 22nd the Oklahoma Department of Corrections reported two more inmates have died due to COVID-19, and seven other deaths are possibly the result of the disease caused by the coronavirus. Of the department’s nearly 25,000 inmates, 3,168 have tested positive for the virus.
The novel coronavirus has been ravaging the U.S. since late February, with over 6 million cases and 185,092 deaths. Emerging data shows alarmingly high rates of COVID-19 in jails and prisons nationwide, including over 85% of inmates testing positive at two facilities in Ohio. As of September 3, there have been at least 180,045 cases and 928 deaths in prisons alone – and many fear these numbers are severely underreported.
More than 16,000 Florida prison inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 120 have died, according to numbers released on Sept. 11th by the state Department of Corrections. An additional 85 inmates were reported to have tested positive, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 16,081.
Raul Covarrubias said he moved into a “hellhole” of an infirmary with nine others who were sick, after isolating in a small cell with what looked like rodent feces. He said he slept only feet away from other inmates’ cots, personally sanitized the sticky dorm floors and bathed with a sock and a shared bucket of water. During a mentally draining month-long stay in the infirmary, Tylenol, cough syrup and cough drops were the only medical respite provided, sometimes not until after midnight when inmates were sleeping, he said.
Six more state corrections employees have tested positive for the coronavirus as the number of cases in the state prison system continues to grow. Three employees at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln and three employees at the state Diagnostic and Evaluation Center tested positive for COVID-19, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said in a news release Sept. 12th.
After nearly flattening for about three months, positive coronavirus tests in Wisconsin prisons are back on the rise at rates worse than ever.
More than 600 inmates in state-run prisons tested positive for coronavirus in the past month, bringing the total to 953 since the beginning of the pandemic. Further, 223 staff had tested positive as of Sept. 15.
The Virginia Department of Corrections reports 537 positive cases at the facility and 8 deaths, as of Sept. 17th. The facility has the most COVID-19 related deaths in any Virginia DOC facility.
A major coronavirus outbreak that has lasted more than a month is growing rapidly again at Folsom State Prison, where more than 850 inmates and close to 40 prison staff have now tested positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic.
Another inmate has died from COVID-19 complications according to officials. The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) announced the death today of an offender from Broad River Correctional Institution, who was positive for COVID-19. Of those, 1,176 have recovered and 795 are active cases. There are 89 active staff cases. This is the department’s 24th inmate death associated with the virus.
Despite conditions that make social distancing difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, a New Mexico state district judge ruled that keeping a man in state prison would be safer than going home roughly four months early.
Officials said three inmates at a South Carolina prison have died after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the death toll at the facility up to five.
But the epidemic in the facility, which the DOC has acknowledged is a COVID-19 hot spot, affected upwards of 80% of the prison population at its worst point. The Department of Corrections' website said 352 Eddie Warrior inmates were still positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Inmates and family members worry that the prison hasn’t taken adequate steps to prevent the spread of the virus. The increase in cases follows spikes at the New Castle and Putnamville prisons in August.
A group of advocates came together today to protest outside of the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, Oklahoma. The prison has been a COVID-19 hotspot, with over 700 women testing positive for the virus and at least one death. Advocates are calling on the governor and the board of corrections to make changes to help keep the women healthy and safe.
A COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly spread through a Virginia jail, infecting at least 120 inmates and 20 staff members despite emergency protocols officials say have been in place since March to prevent the contagion from infiltrating the facility.
Inmate deaths have doubled in Venezuela’s jails during the coronavirus pandemic, a crisis that underscores how the country’s anarchic prisons foment violence and spread disease.
While people are sent to prison to conceivably atone for mistakes, being exposed to deadly infectious diseases was never part of their sentence.
The two state prisons located within Umatilla County continue to report additional cases of COVID-19, with a combined total of 357 cases between them as of Wednesday, Sept. 9.
A coronavirus outbreak at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center has generated widespread criticism from inmates, their families and criminal justice reform advocates, who say the Oklahoma Department of Corrections isn’t doing enough to slow the spread of COVID-19 and is ill prepared to handle surges of the virus.
San Quentin alone currently has 1,379 people who have tested positive for COVID-19— more than a third of the prison’s population. That number is likely growing every day. With 26 dead and at least a third of the population infected, why isn't medical parole part of the solution?
More than a quarter of the 39 state prisoners who have died after testing positive for the coronavirus had been eligible for parole, according to a review of those deaths reported by the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Another four Florida prison inmates have died of COVID-19, bringing the inmate death toll to 111, according to numbers released by the state Department of Corrections.
Jails and prisons continue to be among the largest clusters of Covid-19 in the United States, and experts believe disease will continue to spread inside them and out into the surrounding community without more concerted containment efforts – chief among them, releasing people from confinement.
The spread of COVID-19 throughout Utah’s prison system and several of its jails is writing a new chapter in what advocates, inmates and their families say is a history of inadequate medical care for those incarcerated. “It’s been a problem for a long time,” said Sara Wolovick, an attorney with the ACLU of Utah pushing jailers to release vulnerable inmates who pose little risk to the public. “People have died or had serious and permanent consequences because they haven’t gotten adequate care.”
South Carolina Department of Corrections data shows the Broad River Correctional Institution leads all other facilities with 329 active cases among its inmates as of Sept. 7. Twenty-eight employees are also in quarantine.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections said on September 5, 2020, an inmate passed away at a hospital where she was admitted for symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Prison COVID-19 Information Project - First Published April 11, 2020
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