Correctional officers at nearby federal prison say they’re understaffed, concerned for their health

A number of inmates and staff at FCI Elkton Prison in Ohio have COVID-19. According to the Bureau of Prisons, three inmates have died.

Nationwide, 253 federal inmates and 85 Bureau of Prisons staff have confirmed positive test results.

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Not only are loved ones of inmates worried, but also the correctional officers who work there. Correctional officers at FCI Elkton said they’re understaffed, exhausted and extremely concerned for their health.

“God only knows how many more staff are going to be sick this time next week," said Joseph Mayle, an officer there and also President of the American Federation of Government Employees - Local 607.

At FCI Elkton, coronavirus has greatly impacted the prison:

  • 60 inmates in isolation
  • A handful in quarantine
  • More than 40 being treated at outside hospital
  • 18 on ventilators
  • 13 staff members tested positive

Mayle feels like the Federal Bureau of Prisons isn't being transparent about what’s really going on there.

“We’re getting exposed in there from this pandemic, from this virus and they’re not doing anything to help us or try to take care of us,” he said.

The National Guard was even brought in to help the services department.

Mayle even told Channel 11 correctional officers have to use their own personal time if they get sick. On top of that, he said the guards were given a mask and paper bag to protect themselves.

Theresa Massie has major concerns about the condition of her husband, Angelo, who is an inmate at FCI Elkton.

She told Channel 11 she hasn’t been able to reach him or anyone at the prison in days. The last time they spoke, he told her he wasn’t feeling well.

“I can’t get through to the prison. I can’t get through to nobody up there,” said Massie. “He explained to me that he was sick … that he couldn’t get in and out the bed for the last four days.”

Che Hawkins’ family even retained an attorney for help after he said the prison isn’t giving him his medicine for high blood pressure, and he’s not be protected properly.

Attorney Paul Jubas said Hawkins will be at higher risk of serious problems if infected with coronavirus because of his conditions. He also said he can’t get through to anyone at the prison.

“It’s a complete communications blackout from the prison,” said Jubas. “They can’t talk to anybody. There’s no staff for them to talk to anymore."

Jubas told Channel 11 the inmates lost communication with their counselors and case managers within the last 24 hours.

All social and legal visits have been suspended for 30 days.

For more from loved ones of the inmates, watch the video below.