Inmate at Shutter Creek speaks out amid outbreak

The man said protecting himself is very difficult inside the facility.

Posted: May 6, 2020 8:27 PM

NORTH BEND, Ore. -- An inmate at the Shutter Creek Correctional Institution is speaking out about life in the facility amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Coos County Public Health officials have confirmed 28 coronavirus cases in the area. Of those, 27 are inside the facility.

Matthew, who did not give a last name for confidentiality reasons, told KEZI 9 News that protecting himself is very difficult inside the facility.

“They took all our rights, we don’t see the sun,” said Matthew. “We’re trapped inside a 45 foot by 100 foot flat with 100 people in it. You can’t social distance.”

Coos County public health officials acknowledged how hard social distancing can be inside the facility because of its setup.

However, they said public heath, the Department of Corrections and the prison are doing everything the can to keep the inmates safe.

“In any type of situation where there are a lot of people where people are packed closely together for a long period of time, it presents a lot of unique challenges,” said Brian Leon, public health epidemiologist for Coos Health and Wellness.

Leon said the prison is isolating exposed inmates in a certain area right now. He said they’re also transferring inmates who test positive to other correctional facilities to treat them in one place and reduce spread.

However, Matthew said he feels like it’s not enough.

He said some prisoners are afraid to get tested in fear of getting thrown in solitary confinement if they test positive.

“You’re sick and hurting and your family is worried about you,” said Matthew. “You’re not able to give them any peace of mind that you’re OK."

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