The Department of Corrections has rejected claims from federal public defender John Gorman who has accused DOC of a lack transparency when it comes to COVID-19.
DOC released a statement today, saying they have followed Public Health’s protocols and recommended procedures in dealing with the pandemic.
Gorman sent a letter to District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on July 9th.
The letter raised concerns over DOC’s precautions and procedures pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also accused the department of unnecessarily causing anxiety amongst the prison population.
“This complete lack of transparency on such an important health issue has unnecessarily raised everyone’s anxiety levels,” he stated in the letter. “We also remain very concerned that our clients say they have never been tested despite exposure to the infected officer.”
According to Gorman, prisoners were not informed about the DOC officer and recruit who tested positive for coronavirus, and instead, they found out through media reports. He also raised concern over no COVID testing being provided to inmates or detainees at the prison’s two facilities.
DOC, in its statement today, said although no tests have been performed on the prison population, that is being planned.
“DOC has and continues to work with DPHSS and are working on plans to test all inmates detainees and employees. DOC is confident in its stringent policies and procedures and continues to be vigilant on the fight against COVID-19,” stated the release.
With regard to the two positive cases, DOC Major Antone Aguon stated that Public Health conducted contact tracing and the employees who were tested all came back negative for the virus. Those officers went through the quarantine period and were cleared by Public Health to return to work.