Virginia prisoners making masks to keep coronavirus out of state correctional facilities


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Corrections said they are providing prisoners and DOC staff with guard masks to keep COVID-19 from reaching the state’s correctional facilities.

At this time, there are no cases of coronavirus in Virginia’s prisons, the VA DOC said in a release Monday.

Production of sneeze/cough guard masks started on Friday at all four Virginia Correctional Enterprise (VCE) apparel plants. The VA DOC is hoping to produce up to 15,000 sneeze/cough guards masks a day.

The masks are made by Virginia prisoners as part of “a self-supporting division established by the general assembly more than 75 years ago to provide job training and certification opportunities to offenders.”

During this pandemic, all visits to facilities are canceled but video visits are available. Prisoners are being given two free JPay stamps per week during this time, DOC officials said. They will also receive two free calls a week.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia DOC facilities have moved to modified lockdown in order to minimize contact between groups of offenders from different buildings. Offenders will eat in their pods and go to recreation with their own pod of offenders and will not eat and recreate with offenders from other pods until further notice.”


The state’s department of corrections said they have a screening questionnaire and a medical evaluation tool to monitor the health of Virginia prisoners. There is also a screening tool in place for employees.

The DOC has established a multi-disciplinary task force to monitor coronavirus updates. For more information, click here.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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