You Can’t Escape Covid-19 In A Michigan Prison
It's like a horror movie plot come to life.
You are trapped. In a location. In a situation. With a bunch of people. You can't leave. One person gets exposed to a deadly virus. It's only a matter of time before that person gets another person infected. And it begins to multiply. Soon it pretty much takes over as half the people you're stuck with have now been infected. There is no cure. There is no escape. Eventually you will get infected against every measure you could possibly take in your situation. And once infected, you spread it. Or worse yet, you die.
I'm reminded of the Walking Dead or an old John Carpenter movie call "The Thing". Any zombie movie really. Fear takes over. You can't trust people. You want to get away or to a cure. But there is no hope. No help. Only survival until you eventually get infected.
This is not a work of fiction. This is Covid-19 in the Michigan Department of Corrections.
There are two facilities where this very scenario is playing out.
As of Thursday evening, 612 prisoners at Muskegon Correctional Facility — 47% of the population of 1,296 people — and 15 staff were confirmed to have the virus.
Men incarcerated there told the Free Press they feel it's inevitable that the virus will spread even further behind the prison's walls. They fear for their health and are especially worried about prisoners with underlying medical conditions. (Detroit Free Press, August 21st, 2020)
Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater has a current prisoner population of 1,442. As of this week, 815, or 56 percent of the prisoners being held there, have tested positive for the virus. 39 Lakeland staff are also testing positive.
Since the pandemic has hit, visits for inmates have stopped.
To make up for it, they now get one to two free 5 minute phones calls to loved ones.
And while they figure out how to deal with the situation at hand, they are constantly shifting prisoners around inside the facility and testing more often. Isolation of the infected is also another tactic they are using. But according to prisoners inside the facilities, the DOC is doing a really bad job of it.
"There was a guy that knew he was positive, standing in front of the fan in front of a group of six or seven of us waiting for the shower," Crawford said. "He was told he was positive and he was packed up and waiting to move. ... Standing in front of a 30-inch fan with his mask off." (Detroit Free Press, August 21st, 2020)
Since the first case in March, 4,620 of 37,497 state prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19. Sixty-eight prisoners have died.
This is worse than a horror movie. This is real.
Now imagine if you had a loved one in jail in one of these facilities. They can't get out. You can't go see them. And that next free phone call they get in lieu of no visits, could be them telling you they are now positive for Covid.
Soon they'll be isolated. In a prison hospital. Hoping to survive.
Tell me again, how is that mask mandate like being in prison again?