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Oklahoma Department of Corrections Moving Prisoners To Contain COVID-19 Outbreak

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow speaks with media members during a FaceTime call.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is taking in an unspecified number of prisoners from the Comanche County Detention Center in Lawton. The prison system is trying to separate the county jail’s healthy prisoners from those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Comanche County jail is severely overcrowded, which may have contributed to its outbreak of COVID-19. More than 100 prisoners have contracted the illness caused by the coronavirus. In response, the state Department of Health ordered the jail to stop taking new prisoners.

A Department of Corrections team was sent to assist the jail under the authority of Secretary of Public Safety Chip Keating after county officials asked the state for help.

According to a written statement from the Department of Corrections, women from the jail will be held in Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud while the men will go to North Fork Correctional Center in Sayre.

The Department of Corrections has only found two positive COVID-19 infections inside its system, but it hasn’t tested every person.

The Comanche County jail and multiple prisons in other states that conducted mass testing found numerous prisoners infected with the disease who showed no symptoms.

Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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