prison health care

As temperatures rise, Indiana lawmakers are calling for Governor Eric Holcomb to review the conditions at a women’s prison and intervene to protect inmates.

State Rep. Karlee Macer (D-Speedway) and State Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) spoke outside the Indiana Women’s Prison on Saturday to highlight safety concerns connected to the facility’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

The Indiana Women’s Prison has taken hard measures to contain the coronavirus. Many inmates in the prison have spent long periods locked in their cells — which have no toilets, running water or air conditioning — with limited opportunities for relief. 

As temperatures rise over the summer months, advocates and those with loved ones inside certain housing units, known as the cottages, worry about the heat and long periods of confinement. They fear it could cause health problems for the inmates, and say that the treatment amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. 

This post was updated at 1:05 pm on 4/13/20 to include new infections reported by the state. 

On Monday, April 6, an inmate at Indiana’s Plainfield Correctional Facility stayed up late. From his bunk, he composed two messages. In the first, he told his son that he loves him, that he’s proud of him. 

In the second message, he told his wife he was scared. “I can tell you right now, nearly 100% certainty, that I am going to get this virus,” he wrote. The man’s wife says he suffers from lung disease, which could increase the chances of complications from COVID-19.