8 ways Michigan is trying to prevent rapid spread of COVID-19 in prisons, according to governor

COVID-19 spreading rapidly in Michigan prisons

The door of a prison cell.
The door of a prison cell. (iStock/allanswart)

LANSING, Mich. – COVID-19 is spreading rapidly among inmates inside Michigan prisons, but the governor outlined eight specific ways the state is trying to combat that spread.

“This is a concern that we share as an administration, and I know that families across the state are worried about the safety of their loved ones who are serving time in our prisons or jails,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

She said this is an issue her administration takes “very seriously.” State officials are working with the Department of Corrections to try to make the prisons more safe from the virus.

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Here are eight ways Michigan is trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, according to Whitmer:

  • Inmates are required to wear masks, practice social distancing and utilize proper hygienic protocols.
  • MDC is conducting mandatory testing on all prisoners and staff members.
  • The department has suspended in-person visits since March.
  • Transfers have been heavily reduced.
  • Each prison cell is cleaned with bleach every day.
  • Wayne State University provides doctors that serve as the head of MDC’s clinical COVID-19 response.
  • MDC leadership has regular meetings with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to learn more about the virus.
  • Many people who were eligible have been paroled in the last 10 months.

Whitmer said the Parole Board has worked diligently to make sure communities are still safe while also releasing inmates who have passed their minimum sentence.

The department is currently doing roughly 40,000 tests per week and has done about 400,000 total since the start of the pandemic, she said.

“We are one of the only states in the nation that is conducting this type of testing and making this the priority that we have and taking it as seriously as we do,” Whitmer said.


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