Your support makes this possible. She’s pushing for the state prisons to provide better hygienic and cleaning supplies to inmates. “I have no doubt that the pandemic is complicating the Department of Corrections’ attempt to maintain order in its prisons, but the problem is that the Constitution, particularly the Eighth Amendment does not leave any wiggle room for whether or not prisons have adequate resources.”. Even though the programs have all, for the most part, been restarted, “release dates have been impacted,” the corrections department said to OPB. Georgia Department of Corrections COVID-19 Update. PRUNTYTOWN, W.Va. – The Pruntytown Correctional Facility had an outbreak of positive COVID-19 cases as of Sunday’s count. The prison had suspended the programs March 13, the same date it suspended visitors and volunteers, causing some inmates’ release dates to be postponed for months. The human rights center’s accusations spurred a letter from state Rep. Josh McLaurin and 16 other members of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus to request that state Corrections Commissioner Timothy Ward order an investigation. A spokesman for CoreCivic said it closely followed the COVID mitigation plan and public health authorities’ guidance even before the first reported infections at its detention centers. I have a 6-year-old son and I could have died in that car accident. “Just being stuck in that cell by myself to deal for that period of time was causing some trauma for me.”, “Even though there were inmates who were obviously sick, some of them said that they would just rather wait it out in a dorm rather than be thrown into a cell where there’s total isolation,” Harkins said. Related: Prisons Have Oregon's Largest COVID Outbreak But Testing, Social Distancing Remain Scarce. “We want to raise the volume for folks in prison so they’re not just forgotten about.”. Former Valdosta State Prison inmate Matthew Harkins. GPB is committed to bringing you comprehensive news coverage from Georgia, across the country and around the world. Facilities that do not have current, originating cases of COVID-19 will begin opening in-person professional visitation as early as next week. Those protocols include encouraging inmates and staff to socially distance themselves as much as possible, promote handwashing and other hygienic practices, and have medical staff determine when new inmates arrive if they are infected or considered high-risk. Bruno’s release was originally set for the end of August, at the end of her participation in the recovery program. “Instead, they’re locked in one of the most dangerous environments designed in a pandemic like this one — which is a prison: Congregate living, people cycling in and out, lack of personal protective equipment.”. As Georgia’s bout with coronavirus infections improved since the summer, Georgia’s prisons continued to record spikes as when a recent data dump to the state health department revealed 145 new documented cases at Wheeler Correctional Facility. DOC has no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 at this time. United States, © Copyright 2020, Georgia Public Broadcasting. But some women at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville say that despite the risk of living in close quarters, they are being held beyond their scheduled release dates. “At least in the dorm, they’ll be able to talk to their loved ones so they can know what’s going on.”. Both Pace and Bruno said Department of Corrections Behavioral Health Service workers have come in to continue some drug and alcohol treatment, but they don’t offer the same trauma-focused programming. Herivel, and the other attorneys she’s working with, are arguing that Oregon’s prisons and jails are dangerous without proper social distancing or personal protective equipment. The Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed 69 new cases of coronavirus among inmates at the North Alabama Community-Based Facility/ Community Work Center in Decatur on Tuesday. Caption The department must be more transparent and reduce the inmate population by 25% to offer more flexibility for quarantining, she added. Now, she won’t be released until October 19. Harkins is among the current and former state prison inmates, civil rights organizations, and other inmate rights advocates accusing the Georgia Department of Corrections of not providing proper protections. Harkins says that treatment sends the wrong message to Valdosta inmates who witnessed prison staff cracking jokes, rarely wearing masks, and downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus until a dozen staff members tested positive in early July. The agency said that no inmates at Coffee Creek have tested positive for the coronavirus. We’re going to not allow contractors to come in — which are the councilors for the treatment program — and we’re going to take your guys’ [release] date, the date you’ve worked so hard for, that you guys have not gotten in any trouble for, that we told you you were going to have, we’re going to pull it,’” Bruno said. The Atlanta-based nonprofit mentioned extensive problems, some dating back to 2019, caused in part by severe understaffing at Georgia State Prison, Macon State Prison and Ware State Prison. It confirmed two new cases among staff members. “I made the choice to do 48 months with AIP to change my life,” Bruno said. 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