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COVID-19: Nearly 3,000 CT Prison System Inmates Have Tested Positive, 13 Have Died

The Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Connecticut.
The Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Connecticut. Photo Credit: CT State

Another inmate housed at a Connecticut Department of Corrections facility has died of COVID-19, the agency said, bringing the total number of virus fatalities behind bars in the state to 13 this year. 

The 69-year-old inmate died on Tuesday, Dec. 22 after he had been treated in an external hospital for seven days. 

According to the Department of Correction, he was serving a 12-year sentence for first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child, and was not eligible for parole until April. 

Due to medical privacy laws, the names of inmates who have succumbed to the disease have not been released. 

Currently, according to data published by the agency and last updated on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 250 symptomatic inmates are spread across the state's 11 facilities. Among prison staff, 296 employees are currently recovering from the virus. 

Since the pandemic began, 2,853 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19, 2,369 of whom have recovered. With 528 positive cases, Osborn Correctional Institute in Somers has the highest number of inmates who have contracted the virus. 

In an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus, Connecticut DOC facilities began using "Power Breezers," purchasing six mobile units for their prison facilities on Tuesday, April 28. The machines spray an EPA-approved atomized disinfectant mist up to 25 feet away in a "60-degree radius cone," and each machine can hold 85 gallons of disinfectant. 

“This is another weapon in the DOC’s arsenal to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Commissioner Rollin Cook. "We will not stop fighting the good fight to keep our staff and offenders safe.”

Between March and May of this year, the DOC released 1,455 inmates. Of 759 total releases in the month of March, 545 of those prisoners were released early to thin out the prison population to accommodate COVID-19. 

Compared to February of 2020, discretionary pre-term releases increased by 72 percent in February of this year, according to the department. Connecticut reportedly had the sixth-largest pre-term release of prisoners due to COVID of all state prison systems

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