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Arizona prisons to provide face coverings to parolees, inmates

(AP Photo, file)

PHOENIX – The director of Arizona’s state prison system said Friday inmates are receiving facial coverings and those about to be paroled will also get them as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

“We provided facial coverings to all our inmate population last week and will be providing masks to everyone released from our custody back to the community,” David Shinn told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

Shinn added the Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry planned to have each of the more than 39,000 inmates tested.

Each inmate undergoes two PCR tests – once upon arrival and again after the 14-day quarantine.

According to the department’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of Friday there are 530 confirmed cases in the system out of 4,271 tests.

“We have remained vigilant from the very beginning,” Shinn said “and adjusted our plan corresponding to the threat.”

Shinn said last week his prisons turned away over 100 infected inmates coming from county jails.

A month ago, Maricopa County jails had more coronavirus cases than all the state prisons combined. Courts have been filing fewer criminal charges since late April in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

“We have seen a reduction in admissions,” Shinn said.

Friday, state health officials reported Arizona has 116,892 total COVID-19 cases and 2,082 fatalities.

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