Bringing The World Home To You

© 2022 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

More Protections Needed In NC State Prisons As COVID-19 Cases Rise

A correctional institution facility that has two floors, there are 10 brown square tables and blue chairs.
NC Department of Public Safety
The Nash Correctional Institution in Nash County, NC, is the site of a recent death of a prison from COVID-19. Outbreaks have been occurring across state facilities.

Increased coronavirus case numbers and deaths in North Carolina have taken a lethal toll on people inside state prisons. The number of coronavirus-related deaths has doubled since the end of September, and more than one of every six prisoners has tested positive, according to reporting by Charlotte Observer investigative reporter Ames Alexander. In December, four prisoners at four different facilities died in the span of five days. Outbreaks have continued across the system.

The risk of transmission is high for prisoners because of close living quarters and prison-to-prison transfers. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety reduced transfers in April, but three prison facilities closed last month and reshuffled staff and prisoners to address increased case numbers. The ACLU and other civil rights groups filed an emergency lawsuit in April calling on Gov. Roy Cooper and DPS to reduce overcrowding in prisons and take “concrete action” to protect prisoners according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

A Wake County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in June, ordering the state to reopen programs for early release and increase testing for staff and prisoners. In a Dec. 4 order, the judge mandated that staff who interact with prisoners be tested every two weeks and appointed a “special master” to oversee prisons’ COVID-19 response. Host Anita Rao discusses what’s happening inside prisons and efforts to curb virus transmission with Alexander.

Kaia Findlay is a producer for Embodied, WUNC's weekly, live talk show on health, sex and relationships. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Related Stories
More Stories