McDonald County inmates claim there isn’t enough coronavirus prevention in jail

Sheriff Michael Hall says they are following all CDC guidelines

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. – “We’re trying to send a letter out to our families to tell them we love them because we are in fear for our lives. We do not think we are gonna make it outta here,” says a McDonald County Jail inmate in a recorded jail call that was posted to social media.

Inmates are claiming not enough is being done to prevent the spread of coronavirus into the jail.

“There’s not enough cells. They don’t wear masks when they feed us, they don’t do anything that they’re supposed to and they take this as a full joke,” says the inmate. “We’re not murderers, we have nothing like that. We have victimless crimes.”

They claim there’s not enough room for them to stay six feet apart, that cleaning isn’t being done, that jailers are working while sick, and that they are only given a few bars of soap a day to share in their entire pod.

“All the jailers are taking it seriously,” says McDonald County Sheriff Michael Hall.

Hall says none of the claims are true — adding they have been following all CDC guidelines to keep inmates and their staff protected.

A few things they are doing, according to Hall, include wearing protective equipment when they suspect an inmate is sick, isolating newly processed inmates for approximately four to six days before they’re put into the general population, cleaning and sanitizing everywhere, screening everyone that comes into the building, limiting visitation to video calls, and increasing the amount of soap inmates are given to clean with.

So, Hall says they are doing their part.

But, it’s up to the inmates to make sure they are social distancing because, unlike many other jails, there is the room for it.

“We have a 64 bed facility. Right now, we’re at 20 something inmates. So I believe that there is room to self isolate,” says Hall. “At that pod at that time, there was eight of them in there, there’s six lock down cells plus a day room that’s fairly good sized, and they could have stayed six foot apart. A lot of times they chose not to.”

Hall also adds that of the inmates in the video, all but one of them is being held on felony charges — many of them being assault or drug charges.

A response to the video posted to the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page can be found below: