Indiana inmates making masks to help flatten COVID-19 curve

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Inmates at two Indiana correctional facilities on opposite ends of the state are working to flatten the curve of COVID-19 by making masks for fellow inmates and staff.

In Northern Indiana, residents at Albion’s Chain O’ Lakes Correctional Facility worked together under the direction of caseworker Danette Smith to make masks to slow the spread of novel coronavirus.

Residents were designated into separate groups, each performing a function for preparing the masks to be sewn. The residents worked for three days cutting, ironing and sewing more than 250 masks with materials donated by the facility’s staff and volunteers.

Inmates were able to make enough masks for every resident and staff to have one, leaving a few extra for emergency surplus.

Residents at a re-entry program at the Branchville Correctional Facility in Southern Indiana similarly worked to flatten the curve and limit exposure risk by transitioning from sewing quilts to making facemasks.

The facility’s Purposeful Living Units Serve Program has been using donated material, elastic, hair ties and sewing machines to craft masks for each offender housed at Branchville, as well as all of its employees. In the past two weeks, more than 2,000 masks have been produced.

Staff have shown amazing bravery and dedication throughout this process. We are doing everything within our power to keep this virus to the lowest numbers possible,” Branchville Warden Kathy Alvey said in a statement. “We have done an outstanding job in doing so. Safety for our staff, offenders and the community is our top priority. We are in this together and we will get through this. I am proud of how well our staff are handling this pandemic, as well as the offenders.”

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