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Home / Health / 1 inmate and 4 correctional staff in New Jersey prison test positive for COVID-19

1 inmate and 4 correctional staff in New Jersey prison test positive for COVID-19



Officials said at least one inmate and four correctional officers in Cumberland County Jail tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

Cumberland County Deputy Administrator Jody Hirata said that a prisoner in jail and four correctional officers tested positive for COVID-19 (a disease caused by the coronavirus) on Wednesday. She said that as a result, the prison was locked to prevent prisoners from walking around and control the spread of the virus.

Hirata said that prisoners who tested positive were quarantined for 1

4 days. She said all four police officers who tested positive will need to be quarantined for 14 days and tested negative for the virus during this period before they can resume work.

Hirata said that 22 police officers have been tested, who worked with four police officers who tested positive for COVID-19. She said Thursday’s test results were negative for all 22 police officers.

Hirata said the disease broke out when corrections officers escorted the prisoner to the video court. She said that before the test was positive, the correctional officer had no symptoms and was escorted to infect the prisoner. Hirata said the official tested positive for the coronavirus and “brought the virus into prison from outside.”

There was no return visit to Warden Richard Smith, the warden.

For representatives of the PBA Local 231 union representing 120 correctional officers in the Southern New Jersey prison, the new outbreak is just another in a series of failures by Smith and County to control the virus and protect police officers and civilians and prisoners. According to union lawyers and four correctional officers, more than 10% of police officers working in Cumberland County Prisons tested positive for COVID-19 in the late spring.

The first outbreak was the peak of the problems that plagued correctional institutions at the beginning of the pandemic.

According to an internal memo obtained by NJ Advance Media, officials did not need to wear masks throughout the shift until April 6. Several officials said that only one blue surgical mask was used every week for officials. At the time, an officer who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals described him as “fragile” and extremely irritable because of the 16-hour shift.

As a direct response to the epidemic, the union has previously filed a lawsuit against Cumberland County, requesting the appointment of a special judge to imprison him to “take over all COVID-19-related decisions related to Cumberland County correctional facilities.” popular.”

Union Chairman Victor Bermudez told the New Jersey News Agency on Thursday: “Our main concern is the safety of military officers, prisoners and civilian personnel during the pandemic and during prison closures.” New Jersey is soaring again. Therefore, we are seeking guidance and guidelines from the Supreme Governor’s Office to intervene in the closure of prisons and the transportation of prisoners to prisons in three different counties to intervene in the situation of any super-spreaders.”

Unlike New Jersey prisons managed by the Department of Corrections, county prisons are under the jurisdiction of each county.

In the spring, the Cumberland Liberty holder Jack Surrency called for “immediate reforms” in correctional institutions, citing a high percentage of police officers infected with the virus and emphasizing the need to pay hazard pay. The union’s lawyer Stuart Alterman said that in March this year, Surrency drafted a resolution to spend $15,000 to test every prisoner in the facility.

Altman said that Smith and Freedom Holder Director Joseph Dreira Jr. together refused to accept the resolution. Did not call Derella immediately.

“We believe they are just trying to cover up the facts, rather than drawing attention to positive COVID cases and spreading them as super spreaders to fit their narrative,” Alterman said.

Altman said in a public statement that Smith should be called “the watchman of the super communicator,” and said that prison equipment is not properly cleaned and there is a shortage of personal protective equipment.

But for Hirata, the latest epidemic is the direct result of correctional personnel not taking proper preventive measures when they are outside the prison.

Hirata believes that the county censored social media posts, showing that some correctional officers showed up at two social gatherings without proper social distance. Yoshihiko Hirata cited recent reports and pointed out that smaller social gatherings in private homes are the main reason for the recent surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

Hirata said: “This is the reason for the increase in the number of COVIDs globally, nationally and in New Jersey because people are not taking COVID seriously.” “We cannot control the personal lives of our employees, but everyone has a personal responsibility to do the right thing.”

Hirata added: “They blamed the warden and the deputy warden, but they did not follow the COVID safety protocol and were responsible for their lives.”

This week’s outbreak and the reaction of the union and county officials highlighted the ongoing tension and thorough legal disputes between Smith, his government, the county and the union.

Earlier this month, Derella announced that after spending 13 million US dollars, it would stop the construction of a new prison and cancel the work of 115 county correctional departments. The union said the layoffs were actually 121 prison employees, including 105 correctional officers.

Union members protested against the layoff plan in September and eventually filed a lawsuit against the county. The statement said that the union is waiting for judge Steven J. Polansky to appear in court.

By the end of March, the county prison population in New Jersey had dropped by more than 2,000 people. This decline may help fight the spread of the coronavirus in prisons, which most health experts believe is a breeding ground for the virus.

According to data from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, 8,900 people were in jail at the beginning of March, but 6,875 were in prison three weeks later, a decrease of nearly a quarter. From March 1 to March 30, the number of inmates at the Cumberland County Jail was reduced from 340 to 244-a reduction of 96 prisoners, a 28.2% decrease.

The reason for the decline in the number of state prisoners across the state is that a large number of state prisoners were released, the police arrested fewer people, the crime rate declined in the early days, and lawyers succeeded in releasing some prisoners.

Last week, Governor Phil Murphy signed the first legal bill to reduce penalties in the state’s prison system, which has the highest coronavirus death rate in the country and actually released thousands of people. .The bill was drafted and signed as New Jersey

According to estimates by the governor’s office, 2,088 people are expected to be released on November 4th after the election day. Sources previously told NJ Advance Media that it will release about 1,000 films in advance in the next few weeks ending in January.

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Rodrigo Torrejon may be in rtorrejon@njadvancemedia.com.Follow him on twitter @rodrigotorrejon.




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