Crime Two Texas prisons on complete lockdown related to possible COVID-19 exposures
COVID-19 cases in Dallas County jail reaches 17, report shows
An online report released Tuesday by Dallas County Health and Human Services shows the number of COVID-19 cases in jail has now reached 17. Last week, on March 25, officials confirmed five Dallas County jail inmates had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It's unclear how the first inmate got the disease. He has been in jail since December and was held in a pod with 50 others, according to the Dallas County Sheriff's Office. In a newsLast week, on March 25, officials confirmed five Dallas County jail inmates had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Two Texas prison units are on a complete lockdown after most of their inmate population was placed in medical restriction for possible exposure to COVID-19, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman confirmed.
The Rufe Jordan Unit, a men’s prison in Pampa, was locked down after 993 inmates were placed in medical restriction as of Monday. TDCJ had not yet updated those figures Tuesday. The unit’s maximum capacity is 1,008, according to TDCJ’s website.
California to release 3,500 inmates early as coronavirus spreads inside prisons
California is granting early release to 3,500 inmates in an effort to reduce crowding as coronavirus infections begin spreading through the state prison system. Lawyers for Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday told a panel of federal judges the state is taking "extraordinary and unprecedented protective measures" to slow the spread of the virus and protect those who live and work within California's 35 prisons. The accelerated parole policy — affecting inmates due to be released over the next 60 days — comes in the face of pressure to do much more.
The Dr. Lane Murray Unit, a women’s prison in Gatesville, was placed on lockdown after 1,147 inmates had entered medical restriction as of Monday. That unit’s maximum capacity is 1,341.
As of Tuesday, all inmates in those units have been confined to their cells, spokesman Jeremy Desel said.
Medical restriction is one of two levels of quarantine created by TDCJ to slow the spread of Covid-19. Inmates are placed in medical restriction if they’ve been exposed to a confirmed case or someone showing symptoms of the virus. Typically those inmates are restricted to one part of the unit, and medical staff checks on them twice a day.
Federal Bureau of Prisons declares 14-day lockdown; one worker in Alabama tests positive for coronavirus
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has instituted a 14-day lockdown for all its institutions, including ones in Alabama, to stem the spread of COVID-19. The bureau also stated that one worker at the penitentiary in Talladega has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the bureau’s website, which lists 57 inmates nationwide who have tested positive, and 37 staff members. According to the bureau, inmates in every institution during this two-week period will be “secured in their assigned cells/quarters to decrease the spread of the virus.” The bureau said this move is based on “health concerns, not disruptive inmate behavior.
Inmates are sent to medical isolation, in which they are placed in a single cell in another part of the unit, if they test positive or show symptoms of the virus. They are given a face masks, and nurses regularly check their respiratory status, officials said.
TDCJ had already ordered a lockdown for all inmates in medical restriction and medical isolation, but the lockdown was expanded for the Jordan and Murray units.
CORONAVIRUS IN HOUSTON:
At least 14 Murray Unit inmates were in medical isolation as of Monday, including four with a positive test. The lone inmate in medical isolation at the Jordan Unit had tested positive, according to TDCJ.
On Monday, a total of 28 TDCJ employees, staff or contractors and 19 offenders in custody had tested positive for COVID-19.
Cloth masks, crafted in prison factories, are being distributed to all offenders in medical restriction throughout the prison system.
Myanmar to release 25,000 prisoners amid virus fears .
More than a quarter of Myanmar's prison population is to be released, the president's office announced Friday, as calls grow to ease pressure on overcrowded jails with coronavirus fears gripping the country. The Southeast Asian nation grants an annual amnesty to thousands of prisoners to mark its April New Year holiday, but this is the largest ever recorded.