St. Louis-area woman concerned about outbreak at state prison where husband is housed

Shirley Miner says she’s been waiting from the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDC) to get information on her husband, who is housed at the Southeast Correctional Facility in Charleston, Mo.
“They’re not allowing them to use the phones now,” said Miner.
The MDC confirms 23 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 in one of the wings in Charleston.
The prison houses 1,200 inmates, 68 have been placed in isolation. Prison officials say they’ve separated those who’ve tested positive and those who have negative, but may have been exposed.
“I think they shoul( - Shirley Miner says she’s been waiting from the Mid be treated as humans and they’re not,” Miner said.
Miner suspects her husband is a part of the isolated group.
“I have not spoken to him since last Thursday,” she said.
She says she and many other local families whose loved ones are housed at Southeast Correctional Facility are concerned.
“I speak to him about three times a day on average, so it’s really troubling. I want to find out what’s going on with him,” she said.
The warden says right now, inmates in isolation have not been able to communicate with their families. He says they’re working to fix technical issues to place tablets in the isolation unit to allow inmates to communicate with their family through emails.
They hope to have the issued fixed sometime this week.
Jail administrators say right now, the rest of the population that isn’t isolated is able to communicate through the jail’s phone and tablet system.
The prison sent the following statement on the steps they’ve taken to sanitize the facility to stop the spread of COVID-19:
We have relocated all residents of the COVID-19-affected housing wing at Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) to an isolation unit in a separate building. All positive offenders are in one wing, in separate cells, and all offenders who tested negative are in another wing, also in separate cells, where they’re being monitored and screened. The housing wing where they had been living has been thoroughly cleaned by cleaners with hazmat training and hazmat gear. Residents of other housing wings are being screened, with temperature checks. At this time, SECC is the only facility with positive COVID-19 test results among offenders.
Personal protective equipment is being used by all staff who have contact with the isolation unit or the housing wing in which the offenders affected by COVID-19 previously were held. Cleaners with hazmat training and hazmat gear have thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the wing.
A viral containment plan is in effect at SECC and all other state prisons. Each offender interacts only with residents of his own housing unit at all times, including meals and recreation, avoiding contact with other offenders and staff. Selected offenders are chosen to disinfect each area before another group uses it. Large-group activities have been suspended.
Protective face covers manufactured by Missouri Vocational Enterprises have been distributed to all staff and offenders at every Missouri Department of Corrections facility. Each SECC staff member and offender has been issued at least two of these face covers, which can be cleaned in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
To minimize exposure, the Missouri Department of Corrections has followed all safety protocols and has instituted operational changes:
  • The department has implemented strict sanitation schedules at every facility, with ample access to cleaning supplies, and has designated a point person at each facility to enforce sanitizing guidelines and to ensure the availability of soap and sanitizer.
  • The department has suspended visiting, volunteer and reentry partner programs, and regular offender transfers among facilities, except in extenuating circumstances.
  • All staff are screened, with temperature checks, before entering a facility.
  • Corizon Health provides around-the-clock on-site medical care at every prison, and medical staff have been trained in COVID-19 preparation and response.
  • Isolation cells, wings and units have been designated inside prisons. Offenders with symptoms of COVID-19, the flu or other communicable diseases are isolated from other offenders.
  • COVID-19 testing is available at every prison. Offenders with COVID-19 symptoms are tested in accordance with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines.
The department of corrections is urging family members to contact the Office of Constituent Services if they have questions about a particular inmate. Staff are available during regular business hours to take questions. They can be reached at

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