WATCH “Afraid” Inmates Speak Out About Awful Coronavirus Conditions In Prison
As we deal with the everyday challenges of coronavirus pandemic, it can be easy to forget the inmates in prisons across the country who are dealing with them, too. Some of them are speaking out about what’s happening.
“It’s only a matter of time before we all get it,” one inmate said in a video obtained by Now This News. Read on to find out more about what’s happening behind prison walls during the pandemic.
Inmates Speak Out About Prison During Coronavirus Pandemic
Dion Evans, an inmate at London Correctional Institution in Ohio, says in the above video that inmates are “afraid,” and predicted that inmates could start hurting each other over fear of the virus. “Something needs to be done,” he said.
Michael Powell Jr., an inmate at Marion Correctional Institution, said the prison is on “complete lockdown,” and showed a room crowded with fellow inmates. He said some people were coughing, but there was “no way to escape it.” Some inmates apparently have fevers but haven’t been able to get tested.
Powell added that he hadn’t been able to get essential supplies like soap and toothpaste in a month. He’s also apparently getting “one hot meal” per day, plus peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Evans said he doesn’t want to be seen as “expendable,” and added that many inmates may have family members who are dying of the virus whom they can’t see. Inmates at Cook County Jail in Chicago, where three people have died of COVID-19, are putting signs in their windows asking for help.
Some Inmates Are Being Released Amidst The Pandemic
According to CNN, Butner Correctional Complex in North Carolina has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases of any federal correctional facility in the United States. Sixty inmates and 23 staff have tested positive, and an 81-year-old inmate died on Saturday.
Visits to federal prisons are suspended as 335 federal inmates and 185 staff across the country have tested positive for coronavirus. Last month, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that 300 elderly, nonviolent inmates would be released from Rikers Island.
California also announced it would release up to 3,500 nonviolent inmates from its state prisons to reduce crowding. However, Politico reports that some officials are apparently confused about how best to implement release orders.
Some inmates are reportedly being quarantined before their release near prisoners who are being isolated because they might have coronavirus. “They’re quarantining these healthy inmates with sick inmates that are already down there,” said Angela Sanks, the wife of an inmate at a Maryland prison.