As COVID-19 cases at the Green River Correctional Complex soar inmates,’ loved ones prepare for a march around the statehouse. They are calling on Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to make a change. This comes after more than three hundred fifty inmates test positive with two passing away after catching the virus.
The Muhlenberg County Health Department reports at least 460 COVID-19 cases. The majority of those cases are inmates at the green river correctional complex.
“When I had talked to my husband like two or three weeks after it hit. He told me he was like, ‘Everyone in here has the virus. Everyone in here looks dead,'” says Phoenix Shepherd, her husband is incarcerated at GCC.
There are 982 prisoners at GRCC at least 350 of them have tested positive, two dying after contracting the virus. Current inmates’ loved ones are fearing the worst.
“My fiancé. He’s in there. He has tested positive. He was showing symptoms before they were tested and he was refused a test,” says Mekayla Breland.
This stressful time is the catalyst for family members of the inmates coming together forming Prison Wives of Green River Correctional Complex.
“I started the group initially for support, but when we were hearing the stories about the conditions that were going on, the way people were being treated, we kind of just rallied together and we said, ‘We need to do something about this,'” explains Breland.
“We are their voices. We love them so much and we want them to be protected. We want them to get the chance to shower, have their clothes cleaned,” says Frankie Mayes, her fiancé has been exposed to COVID-19 at GRCC.
“These men have been washing their clothes in a sink for at least a month now,” explains Shepherd.
These women tell 44News they are also worried about their significant other’s mental health and how this lockdown may affect their time.
“A lot of these guys utilize programs to knock down their time and since coronavirus is going on they shut down the mental health, they shut down the gym, they are not allowed to do classes, they can’t do that sat program,” says Breland. “These are things that credit for their time to knock down their time.”
On Saturday, Prison Wives of Green River Correctional Complex will be in Frankfort demanding Governor Beshear intervenes, forming a safer place for the inmates as the prison fends off the virus.
“Our demands are for the Governor to release anyone over the age of 55, anyone with underlying health conditions, anyone who was a juvenile offender, and first-time offenders because that’s the way the prison is going to be able to depopulate,” says Shepherd.
These women are also asking for more testing among inmates and staff. So far 50 prison workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
44News reached out to GRCC. The prison is deferring all questions about the outbreak to the state.