Wife of Indiana prisoner says more needs to be done at state's prisons

Posted at 10:59 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 23:18:05-04

PLAINFIELD — Two recent COVID-19 victims were inmates at the Plainfield Correctional Faciity, both men in their 60s.

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic began, RTV6 has received multiple messages from people scared for their loved ones who are behind bars. One woman, whose husband is locked up, said the conditions of his prison are a breeding ground for coronavirus.

"He has told me how they're still crowding everybody down into the chow hall," Tracy Claycamp said.

Claycamp detailed the conditions her husband, Justin, said he and other inmates are dealing with an one Indiana prison. RTV6 is not naming the specific prison because we can not independently verify what Tracy's husband has told her.

"How filthy it is in there," Claycamp said. "They won't give them bleach or anything so they can at least themselves sanitize the area."

Inmates also aren't able to social distance themselves from each other.

"You're lucky if you have three feet between you and the other bunk," Claycamp said.

The Indiana Department of Correction posted a video on YouTube detailing some of the things they're doing to keep inmates safe. Visititors and volunteers are no longer allowed into correctional facilities and any sick employees are not allowed to return to work.

The department of correction remind inmates and staff to wash their hands and practice social distancing. They've also stopped inmates who were on work crews or work release from leaving the facility.

For people like Claycamp, who hears from someone inside a prison, she thinks a lot more needs to be done to make sure those serving time don't end up dying because of this pandemic.

"The state is responsible for the inmate," Claycamp said. 'They're supposed to take care of that inmate regardless of why they're there."

The Indiana Department of Correction said they're doing deep cleanings of their prisons and have plans in place to deal with symptomatic inmates, even in the case of a large scale infection.

Right now there are 221 confirmed inmate COVID-19 cases in Indiana's prisons. Three inmates have died. There have also been 83 employees test positive, but the state does not release details on staff conditions or the locations where they've tested positive.