Posted by on October 12, 2021 1:02 pm
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Maine jails’ COVID-19 policies force daily 23-hour lockdowns, no visits, and no worship

Prisoner in old jail cell. I have a release for this if necessary.Also: (iStock)

Maine jails’ COVID-19 policies force daily 23-hour lockdowns, no visits, and no worship

Asher Notheis October 12, 12:53 PMOctober 12, 12:56 PM

COVID-19 outbreaks in Maine jails have made the lives of both police and criminals harder as staff members struggle to keep the virus down while handling prisoners.

Prisoners at the Cumberland County Jail are locked in their cells for 23 hours a day thanks to a decrease in workers and a COVID-19 outbreak that infected nearly two dozen inmates and employees. Inmates describe the psychological toll from the lockdown as “excruciating,” according to the Press Herald, and worship services and visitations have ceased.

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“It’s honestly driving me insane,” prisoner Zachary Conway told the newspaper. “Being locked in a cell all the time, it’s hard to control how you feel sometimes. Emotions come and go as they please.”

The Penobscot County Jail also experienced a COVID-19 outbreak that infected almost two dozen inmates and staff. The jail announced Wednesday that it would only accept the most violent new arrestees due to this, forcing law enforcement agencies to take prisoners to other jails in the state, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Sheriff Troy Morton sent an email last week to all Penobscot County law enforcement agencies to tell them the jail was not booking arrestees until further notice. Morton encouraged officers to issue court summonses and to bail arrestees from police stations whenever possible, according to the outlet.

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Reported COVID-19 cases in Maine sat at approximately 94,941 as of Monday. Approximately 887,528 Maine residents are fully vaccinated (roughly 74.95% of the vaccine-eligible population), according to the state’s pandemic dashboard.

The two county jails did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

© 2021 Washington Examiner

Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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