Former Oklahoma Prisoner Found COVID-19 Positive After Being Released

Apr 29, 2020

A former state prisoner was released from William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply, Oklahoma on April 22, before the state prison agency knew he had tested positive for COVID-19.

The infected man was tested just two days before his release, following a new Department of Corrections initiative that launched on April 20 to test every prisoner before their release date. According to a news release, the man had no symptoms before he left the prison.

From now on, the agency plans to have prisoners tested a week before they leave, but it doesn’t have any authority over people who are positive.

A spokesperson said before April 20, the agency tested some people released through commutations but it hasn’t had enough tests to check everyone released since the pandemic began.

After the positive test result was delivered, the corrections agency quarantined and tested 52 prisoners who could have been exposed. Most of them were negative.

It’s unclear how many people outside the prison the former inmate could have had contact with. The Oklahoma Department of Health is investigating.

Corrections leaders say since homelessness is common for people leaving prison, finding places where they can shelter in place will be an important challenge throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.