State responds to lawsuit about the COVID-19 cases in prisons

Joplin Area Coronavirus

FILE – In this Aug. 10, 2009 file photo, guards patrol a cell block housing disruptive inmates at the Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction near Varner, Ark. Guards at two prisons in Arkansas were assaulted by inmates in separate attacks on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 and hospitalized, the latest in a string of violent incidents at the state’s correctional facilities that have included officers being held hostage by prisoners. The Department of Correction said two officers were assaulted by several inmates at the Varner Unit in Grady, 70 miles southeast of Little Rock. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The state of Arkansas responded, via letter, to the civil rights groups that filed a lawsuit accusing the state of not doing enough to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in its prisons.

The suit was filed Tuesday, April 21, on behalf of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arkansas who are representing about a dozen inmates — three from the Cummins Unit in Lincoln County. 

As of April 28, more than 800 Cummins Unit inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 and another at the Ester Unit, that person is a prison employee, according to the governor’s daily briefing.

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