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Number of COVID-19 cases at Danville prison rises

Danville Correctional Center (WCCU)
Danville Correctional Center (WCCU)
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Over the course of December, the Danville Correctional Center has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, from around 40 to over 700 involving inmates and employees.

As of Friday, Jan. 1, the prison has 610 active cases involving inmates and 48 active cases involving staff members.

The total is nearly double the amount of any other prison in the state.

As of Friday, Danville Correctional Center has reported a total of 728 cases among inmates and 134 cases among staff.

Rantoul resident Annette Douglas has several friends who are serving time in the Danville prison.

She said that the numbers have been hard to look at.

"Of course we're going through it out here, but then there is this added layer of worrying about your family members on the inside and what's happening," Douglas said.

Douglas' husband is also serving time in a different state prison, as well as her son, who had been released from Danville Correctional Center in November.

She said her friends have shared what the prison was like during the pandemic.

"A friend, he did say that he thought that they were doing as best as they could," Douglas said. "He did tell me that he didn't think that they were getting the hand sanitizer that they should be getting."

The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) released a statement on Monday about the outbreak inside the Danville prison:

Controlling the spread of COVID-19 at Danville Correctional Center remains a top priority for the Department. The facility instituted a medical task force that works closely with IDOC’s Office of Health Services to ensure the most aggressive mitigation measures are implemented. All staff and men incarcerated at the facility are equipped with PPE, antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer. Offenders are appropriately quarantined or isolated and are receiving around the clock medical care. The Department remains in constant contact with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Emergency Management Agency to ensure we are utilizing every tool at our disposal to protect those who live and work in our facilities.

Douglas believed that the prison can do more to cut down on the spread, including looking at the sentences that are expiring soon to cut down on the capacity.

"I know they are basically to capacity and they can't social distance from each other," Douglas said.

Douglas said that even though many of the inmates have made mistakes, they still deserve to be treated like human beings.

"It doesn't matter what happened, what he did; he's still my son, I was still worried about him," Douglas said. "He's still my husband, I'm still worried about him. And they weren't sentenced to life."

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