Maine Inmates Produce Protective Equipment, As DOC Adjusts Practices To Prevent COVID-19 Outbreak
County jails in Maine have seen a 38 percent decline in their prison populations over the past several weeks, and the Maine State Prison system has had an eight percent drop, according to the latest figures on the Department of Corrections website.
DOC Commissioner Randy Liberty says the state has been fortunate that, so far, no prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19. Seventeen prisoners tested and turned up negative.
Meanwhile, Liberty says inmates have been making personal protective equipment to be distributed throughout Maine's prisons and jails and to other front-line workers.
"We've produced 6,000 cloth masks. At our facilities, we've produced 500 gowns, we've produced 300 face shields. We don't want to be dependent and interfere with the medical professionals that need the N95 masks, and so we're producing our own."
Liberty says there are enough masks so that every prisoner and every staff member can have two.
Other protocols to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have also been undertaken, including the elimination of in-person visits, and the system has ended in-person visits and stopped volunteers and vendors from coming inside.
Commissioner Randy Liberty says every day staff who enter the facility get a temperature check.
"And they go through a medical screening to make sure they're not positive or have any symptoms. If they are, they are sent home. If any of our staff have traveled out of state, they report that and they go home and quarantine for 14-days and make sure that they're clear."
Liberty says the facilities are also undergoing regular deep cleanings and cloth masks, made in prison facilities, have been distributed to all inmates and staff.