Prisons in Michigan & the Coronavirus
Michigan's Department of Corrections has a lot on its plate while inmates and employees have been testing positive for coronovirus.
According to WOOD, some Michigan prisons are making their own personal protection equipment while others are preparing to move inmates to vacant facilities who have tested positive.
The MDOC has 80 prisoners and 14 employees that have tested positive for COVID-19.
MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz said, "obviously we know our prisoners aren't doing international travel or domestic travel, so we know that if it's coming in, it's being brought in to them and then spread around. Just this week, we've enacted even stricter control on that screening criteria."
Two weeks ago, visitors were no longer allowed as well as volunteers. Anyone employee is experiencing symptoms will be off for seven days.
Gautz said, "we still run our GED classes, we need to keep the prisoners active and engaged. Idle prisoners can be a dangerous thing, so we need to make sure that we're trying to run things as close to normal as possible, knowing that we have to do everything we can to reduce groups of people gathering."
Social distancing in classes and meal times with lower numbers of inmates attending in smaller groups.
Unfortunately the main area to utilize social distancing is the inmates housing and the cells are just too small for 2 people. The bigger cells that hold 8 people are even worse.
MDOC's license plate plant that is just outside of Adrian is now making masks and other personal protective equipment.
Gautz said, "we're moving those facilities to making masks, gowns and protective eye-wear. Within the next week or so, every staff member will have three masks, as well as will every prisoner. For the time being for those staff whose facilities who have not received their shipment from us, we've allowed them to bring in their own masks, gown, gloves, whatever they wish until we're able to provide them for the entire facility."
There is a possibility that the prison factories could make equipment for medical units outside the prison system but there will need to be an executive order for that to take place. There is a standing law the does not allow prisons to make and sell items made by inmates.