Prisons Lagging in COVID-19 Response

Sometimes, Deonta could hear inmates sick with COVID-19 screaming for help from his cell, said his loved one Chrisoula Drivas. 

“The officers would kind of disregard people, so he said it was crazy to hear that people were desperate and no one cared,” she said. Since the onset of the pandemic, advocates like Drivas have raised concerns about inadequate cleaning supplies, unsanitary conditions and a lack of consistent COVID-19 protocols in Illinois Department of Corrections facilities. These are challenges Deonta faced firsthand, she said. In November, one of Deonta’s three cellmates at Dixon Correctional Center tested positive for COVID-19. Though this man was moved to another area to quarantine, the other three were not immediately tested, she said.