Gov. Larry Hogan has earned praise for his response to COVID-19. But Maryland leads the nation in jailing young Black men, and advocates say he’s failing to protect Maryland’s prison population.
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Update: After publication, TRNN received the following statement from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services:
The Department has been continuously collaborating around the clock with multiple agencies, including the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
The Department is committed to providing all facility correctional populations with updated information regarding precautions, prevention, and supportive therapy for the COVID-19 virus. This includes all of the prevention actions advised by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) regarding COVID-19.
Statewide, the Department utilizes privatized medical doctors and nurses who provide on-site care for the incarcerated population at infirmaries in each region.
The Department has robust emergency plans in place that include modified housing options in the event of an outbreak, all designed to protect the incarcerated population, staff and their families.
Total social distancing is impossible in a prison setting. However, by canceling visits, eliminating group programming and contact activities, and modifying movement the Department is working to keep infection from entering its facilities.
The Department remains vigilant, as conditions change the Department continues to work to ensure the safety of its facilities.
The Department has instituted enhanced hygiene and sanitation practices consistent with the recommendations of MDH and CDC.
The Department has been utilizing a front entrance protocol.
The Department is implementing temperature checks at the point of entry and questionnaires during shift change. These are handled by medical and trained personnel.
The Department is monitoring supplies daily, and has provided additional soap to inmates at no cost. Education about personal hygiene and enhanced cleaning efforts are being undertaken throughout the system.
To date, the Department has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among its inmate population.
The Department is in the process of establishing—-likely by the end of the week— a 24-hour hotline which loved ones of inmates and detainees can call to have their questions answered. Details of the hotline—-and the number itself— are not finalized at this time. Once operational, the hotline will be listed on the Department’s public website.