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.
Florida’s prison system reached a grim milestone this week, as state corrections officials reported that more than 100 inmates have died of complications related to COVID-19. As of Sept. 4th, 107 inmates and at least three corrections workers had died of COVID-19.
A large coronavirus outbreak in a women’s prison near Muskogee and community spread in college towns drove the hotspots for active cases this week in Oklahoma. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, just outside Muskogee, had 721 inmates and 16 staff members with positive cases as of Sept. 3rd, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. That pushed the 74463 ZIP code in Taft to the top hotspot in the state.
As the COVID-19 infection toll inside United States prisons and jails reaches 100,000, some researchers are wondering if it’s time to reconsider bans on using prisoners in medical trials, such as the vaccine trials currently underway across the country. Though often in the center of the discussion of a contentious topic, prisoners have had little input into the conversation.
The number of Missouri prison inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic is approaching 1,000, and the number of infected prison staff has topped 300.
The Covid-19 infection and mortality rates are significantly higher in prisons than in the general population, though the severity differs widely among states, a new study found. With their crowded conditions and inadequate resources, jails and prisons have been the source of some of the country's largest Covid-19 outbreaks.
Federal prison guards in McDowell County are concerned that a planned influx of inmates could pose a COVID-19 risk to the correctional center and the community. Plans are in place to soon transfer hundreds of inmates from southern states to the McDowell Federal Correctional Institute in Welch and facilities in Alderson and Hazelton, said Brian Lucas, president of Local 480, the union representing area federal correctional employees.
As of September 1st, 1,144 of the 1,410 inmates at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19. The South Central Correctional Facility is a private prison operated by CoreCivic. To add insult to injury, CoreCivic said "The health and safety of the individuals entrusted to our care ... is the top priority for CoreCivic."
According to the Tennessee Department of Correction, there are currently 1,206 active cases in state prisons. In total, 12 people incarcerated in state facilities have died. Three new deaths were reported September 1st.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is working to contain an outbreak at a women’s correctional center in Muskogee County after 504 inmates tested positive for COVID-19. Out of the 504 positive inmates at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center that have tested positive, only seven inmates have recovered and 262 are in quarantine, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website.
Officials at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac say it has a cluster of COVID-19 infections among inmates and staff. The Seattle Times reports that the Federal Bureau of Prisons said 31 inmates and six staff members at the facility had tested positive for the coronavirus.
State prisons chief Ralph Diaz, who presided over the final stages of a huge court-ordered reduction in inmate population as well as the system’s sometimes-bungled response to COVID-19, is retiring in October, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced.
Maurice Ford became the second sheriff's office deputy to die from the coronavirus this year. He worked in the West Detention Center in Belle Glade and had been with the sheriff's office since 2006.
The union representing Michigan prison officers called for the removal of Corrections Department Director Heidi Washington, saying it has lost confidence in her leadership over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Oregon Department of Corrections said Wednesday a fourth inmate in their custody has died from COVID-19 during the pandemic. The inmate was serving their sentence at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton, the DOC said.
With 811 coronavirus cases among Oregon prison staff and inmates, Gov. Kate Brown is considering another round of commutations to protect medically vulnerable inmates and those nearing their release dates.
In a letter to corrections Director Colette Peter sent Tuesday, Brown requested a list of inmates who are medically vulnerable or within two months of their release.
Two more Florida inmates have died from complications of COVID-19, bringing the coronavirus death toll among prisoners to 88, according to a report released by state corrections officials. The latest report showed that an additional 44 inmates and 30 corrections workers tested positive for the highly contagious coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, since Tuesday. As of mid-Wednesday, 15,445 inmates and 2,496 corrections workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is sure to become a staple of court dockets in the months and years to come, and already one sector has triggered a wave of litigation over questions of civil rights, public health, and institutional liability—America’s prisons and jails.
Green Bay Correctional Institution now has the most COVID-19 cases of any state-run correctional facility after 258 inmates tested positive. More than a quarter of those incarcerated at the maximum-security prison have contracted the virus. Twenty-five staff have also tested positive.
A coronavirus outbreak at a Muskegon prison in Michigan has now infected more than half the inmates there, killing one, prompting emergency call-ups of additional corrections officers. The Muskegon Correctional Facility (MCF) had recorded 810 positive COVID-19 cases or 62 percent of 1,296 inmates tested.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced 688 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky on Tuesday, increasing the case total to 44,568, and 10 more people with the coronavirus have died.
Eight more Vermont inmates at a privately run Mississippi prison have tested positive for Covid-19. The total number of Vermont prisoners who have now tested positive for the coronavirus in the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, now stands at 184. That means 84% of the 219 inmates from Vermont at that prison have tested positive for Covid-19.
The grounds in front of the historic capitol were transformed into a mock-graveyard Aug 22nd. The group, Florida Prisoner Solidarity created the demonstration to mark lives lost from COVID-19 in Florida prisons.
An inmate at California Institution for Men on Aug. 22, became the 21st prisoner at the Chino prison to die from apparent complications of COVID-19, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced. The inmate was not publicly identified.
Preston Easterwood left the prison in March, just as COVID-19 was ramping up across the nation, but before it officially got into the prison. Easterwood said he’s not surprised COVID-19 got into the prison, and describes panic and anxiety right before he left. He worked inside the prison right as the pandemic was in full force early in the spring, when prison staff were scrambling to find enough personal protection equipment and trying to keep inmates socially distanced, a near impossible task.
https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/08/23/former-officer-at-baker-correctional-institute-spInmate becomes 21st at Chino prison to die from COVID-19eaks-about-covid-outbreak-in-prison/
Families of incarcerated people, advocates, and community organizers held a press conference Wednesday to shine a light on the intersecting crises of racism and COVID-19 in Washington State prisons. Advocates said DOC's "response has been inadequate, negligent, and harmful."
A state task force is calling on the legislature to give corrections and parole officials greater flexibility to release incarcerated people during declared disasters like the coronavirus pandemic.
The recommendation, part of a broader report on COVID-19′s disproportionate effect on communities of color, addresses a temporary reprieve program established by Gov. Tom Wolf that has released under 200 state inmates — a fraction of what advocates say is needed.
Inmates at the Yuma prison say they were threatened with violence and ordered by prison officials to refuse COVID-19 testing to keep outbreak numbers artificially low.
The Arizona Department of Corrections recently began conducting mass testing of all inmates across the entire state prison system, resulting in a rapid increase of COVID-19 positive cases being reported.
A trio of new studies is highlighting the burden of COVID-19 in the nation's prison population and shedding light on how prisons might be able to reduce transmission.
As deadly fires spread through California, first responders lack a crucial part of their emergency response team: prison inmate firefighters. The coronavirus has swept through correctional facilities and infected many vulnerable California inmates, leaving fewer available to help contain more than two dozen major fires and over 300 smaller ones. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has roughly half as many inmate fire crews than it originally had to work during the most dangerous part of wildfire season. Inmates are often on the front line doing dangerous work and making low pay, between $2 and $5 per day and $1 extra per hour when fighting a fire.
Nearly half the men incarcerated at a west Michigan prison have tested positive for COVID-19, a surge in hundreds of infections since the facility saw its first confirmed case in late July. As of Aug. 20, 612 prisoners at Muskegon Correctional Facility — 47% of the population of 1,296 people — and 15 staff were confirmed to have the virus.
Correctional facilities that resisted mass coronavirus testing for inmates erred in their decision to only test inmates with symptoms, leading to large initial undercounts, a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggested.
By mid-August, jails, prisons, and other detention centers accounted for all of the top 10 Covid-19 clusters in the country. This week, the number of Covid-19 deaths among inmates and correctional officers passed 1,000, with more than 160,000 infected. But as Covid-19 cases among incarcerated people continue to climb, the racial makeup of those cases has remained obscured, despite the fact that the groups most affected by Covid-19 — people of color, and in particular, Black people — have also been disproportionately incarcerated.
Far more inmates inside Mississippi prisons have COVID-19 than are being detected, new reports suggest. “Absent aggressive screening for symptomatic testing or a widespread testing regime through which all staff and prisoners are tested, we must assume the numbers are grossly understated,” said J. Cliff Johnson, director of the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Some Hawaii prisoners and jail inmates will be released early due to COVID-19 risks, starting Wednesday. The Hawaii Supreme Court released its legal order Sunday evening, addressing inmates at Oahu Community Correctional Facility. It cited the unrest at OCCC in its order. Anyone let out early will have to check back in with the court next February.
Vague testing guidelines, faulty thermometers and inadequate staff training may have contributed to the COVID-19 outbreak in California prisons that has killed at least 54 inmates and sickened more than 9,500 others, the state’s Office of Inspector General reported.
New Jersey’s correctional facilities have been hit particularly hard. With 29 deaths for every 100,000 inmates, they have the highest COVID-19-related death rate in the nation.
An inmate at a Connecticut prison was confirmed dead this week after he was found with a cloth mask intended to prevent the spread of Covid-19 tied around his neck, according to the state Department of Correction. The inmate's death has been ruled a suicide.
Of 110 jail inmates who were tested for COVID-19 earlier this week at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, 70 turned out to have the disease in exactly the kind of outbreak inside correctional facilities that advocates have feared. A statement released Thursday morning by the state Department of Public Safety revealed that seven additional adult correctional officers also tested positive, bringing the totals to 86 inmates and 14 staff members who have tested positive at the state’s largest jail so far.
Governor Whitmer signed a revised executive order on jails and prisons Saturday that requires adoption of testing protocols for Michigan Department of Corrections facilities, and requires that jails adopt comparable protocols in order to transfer prisons to state facilities, according to the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor.
“Testing is at the very center of any strategy to keep prison and jail populations safe,” said Governor Whitmer.
The Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Center has confirmed 55 new cases of coronavirus — the largest weekly increase at the facility since April, according to numbers from the Maryland Department of Health. The figures include 30 new cases among corrections staff and 15 among inmates at Central Booking in the past week, according to data released by the state.
In the state prisons, nearly 14,271 inmates and 2,185 staffers have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. That’s up from “1,600 cases in 13 ‘hot spot’ facilities” just six weeks ago. To date, 75 inmates have died from the virus, including at least 14 who were eligible for parole, as of August 13th.
In what critics call a “detention-to-deportation” pipeline, federal immigration officials have deported hundreds of Guatemalans infected with COVID-19 back to their native country. U.S. deportations of migrants have exported COVID-19 to Guatemala and prompted fear, chaos, and a collapse of already fragile health services.
As of August 14, 2020: Another 10 percent increase in COVID-19 cases behind bars as total tally nears 100,000. Coronavirus infections continue to spread at a rapid pace in federal and state prisons across the country. There are over 18,000 cases in Texas, nearly 13,000 in Florida, and roughly the same number in federal prisons. At least 847 prisoners have died of the virus, an increase of five percent over last week. More than 21,000 prison staff also have tested positive but many states don’t test.
U.S. Marshals are transporting prisoners without testing them for coronavirus. Federal prisoners are being shipped around the U.S. by plane, van, and bus with no way to know if they are carrying the virus, and exposing other prisoners, staff, and possibly the public along the way.
561 inmates and 25 staff members at the facility in Sanderson had tested positive for the coronavirus, with 294 pending inmate tests, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. In comparison, a week ago, 20 inmates and 17 staff members had tested positive.
With six inmates and three staff already testing positive, staff worry the prison system is unprepared to control the virus.
Florida’s prison system recorded more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases and two inmate deaths over the weekend of August 6 and 9th, according to data released on August 10th by the state Department of Corrections. The number of prisoners who had tested positive for COVID-19 climbed to 12,438, an increase of 1,463 cases since August 7th. The two inmate deaths brought the total number of inmates who have died of COVID-19 to 65. Also, an additional 98 corrections workers tested positive for the deadly respiratory illness over that weekend. In total, 2,044 corrections workers had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of mid-Monday.
Weeks before the first reported cases of COVID-19 in prisons and jails, correctional healthcare experts warned that all the worst aspects of the U.S. criminal justice system — overcrowded, aging facilities lacking sanitary conditions and where medical care is, at best, sparse; too many older prisoners with underlying illnesses; regular flow of staff, guards, healthcare workers in and out of facilities — would leave detention facilities, and their surrounding communities, vulnerable to outbreaks. Despite those early warnings, even jails and prisons that believed they were well-prepared have seen a rapid spread of the virus.
A ninth staff member has died from Covid-19, California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Sunday. The employee worked at San Quentin State Prison and was the first staff member at California's oldest prison to die of the disease, according to the department.
Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 24 inmates there, according to the department. More than 1,000 staff members statewide are confirmed cases, according to the CDCR.
Families and loved ones of inmates in Washington state prisons are demanding that Gov. Jay Inslee and Department of Corrections Secretary Stephen Sinclair release more inmates from DOC facilities to prevent them for contracting COVID-19. Many family members of prisoners say inmates tell them prison guards do not wear masks while on duty and they fear they will bring COVID-19 into the prisons, resulting in prisoners getting sick and dying.
A man charged with rape is now accused of murdering his accuser after he was released from prison over coronavirus concerns, The Washington Post reports.
With a major increase in infections reported Friday, nearly 11,000 state prison inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 63 have died, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
For people released from prison or jail, returning to their communities is a challenge in the best of times. Often, employers don’t want to hire them. A criminal record makes it hard to find housing. Many people have lost touch with family members. The coronavirus pandemic has magnified these challenges. Now, jobs are more scarce, and people are isolated.
The Bureau of Prisons has spent almost $3 million dollars on ultraviolet sanitizing devices to combat COVID-19 at 122 federal prisons. The contract, which was obtained by ABC News says that GM Hill Engineering is providing the BOP with ultraviolet sanitizing gates -- even though the World Health Organization says UV light technologies should not be used on human beings and there is no definitive scientific research on the use of UV light to protect against COVID-19.
A second coronavirus-related death following a weekend surge of positive COVID-19 cases at the Marion federal prison has inmates with medical conditions worried about their health in a prison that is not allowing them to distance, family members and inmates told the Tribune.
An inmate who was taken to the Oahu Community Correctional Center on Monday has tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first time state corrections officials have detected the virus in Hawaii’s inmate population, according to the Department of Public Safety. Public Safety officials also announced in written statements that four corrections officers at OCCC and other facilities tested positive this week.
As coronavirus has spread rapidly through prisons and jails around the country in recent months, the Texas lockup where Giannetta spent his last days has emerged as the hardest-hit federal prison in the United States. More than 1,300 of the roughly 1,750 prisoners at FCI Seagoville prison and camp have tested positive for the virus, according to data from the federal Bureau of Prisons -- a stunning three out of every four inmates. So far, three inmates at the prison, including Giannetta, have died from Covid-19.
Conditions in Ohio's pandemic-stricken prisons are helping ensure the spread of COVID-19 rather than stop it, putting entire communities at greater risk, according to data crunchers, inmate advocates and prison workers throughout the state. Ohio's prisons have a 9% rate of infection, compared with less than 1% for the rest of the population, according to data released by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and analyzed by the UCLA COVID-19 Behind Bars.
The journalist contracted the disease while he was held in pretrial detention, according to a Facebook post by Monir’s daughter and reports in Al-Jazeera and the independent Egyptian news website Mada Masr. Monir was a “martyr of the freedom of the press in Egypt,” said one of his colleagues.
A correctional sergeant at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla has become the eighth state prison employee to die of COVID-19, authorities said. Sgt. Seeyengkee Ly, 38, died Aug. 2, according to a statement released by the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. He spent more than 17 years with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and served at several prison facilities.
Uganda has imposed one of Africa's strictest lockdowns, the country of 42 million has registered just 1,213 COVID-19 cases and five deaths from the disease, despite crumbling public hospitals, doctors' strikes and corruption scandals. But due to the harsh repression the number of prisoners in Uganda has risen from 59,000 to 65,000 in five months, exacerbating overcrowding. "Fear of contracting COVID-19 has been fuelling anxiety among inmates and we had mass escapes at two prisons," said Frank Baine, spokesman for Prisons service.
A group of US Senators led by Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker introduced legislation that is meant to provide more transparency about the handling of COVID-19 in prisons. This comes as the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) released its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 9 Action Plan ... which looks a lot like Phase Eight ... which looked a lot like Phase Seven. It begs the question as to whether there is a cohesive plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected over 10,000 federal inmates and over 1,000 correctional staff ... killed 110 inmates and one staff member.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, Aug. 5, blocked a lower court order that the Orange County jail system practice social distancing, distribute hand sanitizer and keep the facilities clean to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Justices voted 5-4 to stay the earlier order issued by U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal against Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. The sheriff asked for an emergency appeal after Bernal ruled in May that Barnes had been inconsistent in following federal guidelines to protect jail inmates from the spread of coronavirus.
Organizers took the mic and urged city and state officials to allow inmates to serve out sentences on home incarceration instead of at the detention center, as confirmed coronavirus cases continue to stay at high levels across the country.
Corrections officials said Wednesday significantly more Vermont inmates held in a privately run Mississippi prison have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Three days after reporting 85 Vermont inmates had tested positive, officials now say the number has jumped to 147 after additional testing, or about two-thirds of the total 219 prisoners from the state held at the Mississippi prison.
517 inmates at the Arizona State Prison Complex Tucson Whetstone Unit tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials. The inmates who tested positive, which make up nearly half the unit's population of 1,066 inmates.
Barely a week after the first person incarcerated at a Muskegon prison began showing symptoms of COVID-19, mass testing at the facility has so far revealed 155 positive cases. It’s a significant outbreak in a prison that houses just over 1,200 men.
An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Kentucky State Reformatory is now linked to deaths of six inmates, the highest number of such fatalities at any of the state's 13 prisons, according to the Department of Corrections.
Wayne Rogers and his wife, 61, both contracted COVID-19 earlier last month, and were sent home to quarantine after a July 12 trip to the emergency room. Their health declined and they were both admitted to the hospital July 18. The couple got sicker over the course of two weeks, according to their daughter, Tiffany Davis. They died within an hour of each other on July 30.
More than 1,300 state and federal inmates and prison staff members in the tri-county area have tested positive for COVID-19, with six of those prisoners succumbing to the deadly virus.
More than a third of the Vermont inmates housed in Mississippi have tested positive for COVID-19, according to preliminary numbers released by the Vermont's Department of Corrections. Out of 219 Vermont inmates currently held at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in TutwilerMississippi, 85 tested positive for the virus.
American jails and prisons, in which large numbers of inmates live together in close quarters, have become COVID-19 hotspots. In fact, one published analysis found that the top 10 biggest clusters of the virus in the U.S. are now in correctional facilities. A new study, however, takes a look at the possible ripple effect these clusters may have in surrounding communities. The findings suggest that short-term cycling of prisoners through local jails for arrest and pretrial procedures may be putting entire cities and states at risk, especially communities of color, according to a new peer-reviewed study in the journal Health Affairs.
Prison COVID-19 Information Project - First Published April 11, 2020
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