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Indiana's Inmates Still Eating Meals Together Amid Pandemic

hancock-co-jail-mental-ill-overcrowding-02-04-2019-42_01.mxf.00_00_02_26.still001.jpg

(WFIU/WTIU News File)

But hundreds of inmates are still together during outdoor recreation time and offenders take their meals together in large groups.

Agency spokesman David Bursten said that during outdoor recreation periods, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on social distancing of six feet or more “are being followed as permitted.”

He said that regarding inmate meal times, Indiana’s “correctional housing facility does not allow for meal service in groups of 10 or less.”

Hoosiers are keeping their distance as a stay-at-home order took effect Wednesday aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The Indiana Department of Correction has suspended visitation at Indiana's 20 correctional facilities and taken other steps in a recent directive. 

The Department of Correction points out that there are no known cases of COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, among the nearly 27,000 offenders housed at the state’s prison, but it also concedes that it hasn’t tested any of those inmates.

Bursten said agency 13 staff members have been tested for COVID-19 and some staff were positive. But he provided no other details on cases of the virus among employees with the department, which has more than 5,600 employees, according to the state website.

“The Indiana Department of Correction will manage infectious diseases in correctional facilities through a comprehensive approach which includes prevention, testing, appropriate treatment, education, and infection control measures,” the agency wrote on its website.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here

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