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Oklahoma Prison Inmates Restricted to Their Cells in COVID-19 Containment Plan


The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has ordered all state prisons to secure inmates in their cells to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The DOC said in a news release the step is to protect the health of inmates and staff, not for disciplinary reasons. Inmates will have food and medicine delivered to them. Activities like showering and making phone calls will be done on schedules.

Prison officials called the move "aggressive but necessary."

The DOC began developing its coronavirus response March 13 by suspending all in-person visitation and volunteer access to facilities. Since then, officials suspended the intake of new inmates, started daily health screenings of workers, and switched Oklahoma Correctional Industries to making masks and hand sanitizer for inmates and prison staff.

A DOC worker at Joseph Harp Correctional Center tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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