“I do not feel safe” says Cumberland County Prison inmate


HARRISBURG, Pa, (WHTM) –  “Hello, this is a call from an inmate at the Cumberland County Prison.”

Two inmates at the Cumberland County Prison who asked not to be identified called the ABC27 Investigative Team with some serious concerns.

They felt inmates weren’t being protected from COVID-19.

Inmate 2: “You know they’re not even concerned at all. I think they think that this is actually a hoax. Like it’s not real. I firmly believe that. They don’t want us watching TV it’s like a propaganda movement for us to not be informed about what’s happening in the outside world.”

Inmate 1: “No, I don’t feel safe. People come in and out of here everyday that are in and out from the public and they don’t have no masks on.” … “So how are you able to practice social distancing?” … “Impossible, impossible.”

The inmates claim even though staff and vendors at the prison were given masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, they would wear masks around their necks or put them on their forheads.

Inmate 2: “You know, that’s just a slap in the face to us.”

They also say some of the correction’s officers made fun of the masks and gloves they were given to wear.

Inmate 2: “He was saying how he was in the service and had to wear a gas mask and this doesn’t mean anything to him…And then the other CO in the office was rubbing his hands all over the wall and saying, ‘I’m not changing these gloves the rest of the day, you guys are going to get all my germs.’…I’ve never seen childish behavior like that, ever.”

We also learned a concerned family member sent letters letters to the prison raising concerns about the conditions inside.

We reached out to the county commissioners and they did not respond to our request for a comment. But the county spokesperson gave us a list of the steps taken at the prison saying:

March 9, they started disinfecting, visitation was suspended, and inmates were allowed to video chat once a week.

By March 13, everyone entering the prison had their temperature taken, and work release was stopped.

One inmate tells us when he raised concerns with his family on the phone about he lack of gloves or protective gear, he says his call was cut off and he was called down to the warden’s office.

Inmate 1: “When they called me down they said that would be addressed and it won’t happen again. But yesterday, they handed out money to 60 people with no gloves on.”

They feel their concerns are being ignored.

Inmate 2: “You can’t get answers out of these people, it’s pathetic.”

As of today, there are no reports of COVID-19 cases at the Cumberland County Prison.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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