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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Mother searching for answers as more inmates are diagnosed with COVID-19

A woman Local 5 spoke to has questions regarding the safety of inmates as Iowa's cases continue to climb.

NEWTON, Iowa — Many Iowans have asked how COVID-19 is spreading in jails and prisons if inmates are not allowed visitors.

And one woman who spoke to Local 5 is concerned about the virus infecting her son.

"I want him to be safe," she said. "I want my son to be safe."

As of Dec. 31, there have been 13 coronavirus-related inmate deaths in Iowa Department of Corrections facilities and 3,972 have tested positive.

Earlier this year, Local 5 spoke with an inmate about the virus in Iowa's prisons.

"People are dying. Like, it's a matter of time. They did this to us," he said. "We weren't coming in and out of the prison and exposing ourselves." 

"And now, just like the virus, rumors are spreading of more inmates dying from the coronavirus."

The Iowa Department of Corrections provides information anytime an inmate has a COVID-related death.

"We don't want them to have unnecessary worries," the woman told Local 5. "We don't want to have the unnecessary worries. We want to know what's really going on."

With her loved one being in Newton, Local 5 checked to see what resources are available.

The DOC'S website provides data and links, including one that shows the steps taken to ensure safety. It also notes that all visitations and volunteer activities that have been suspended until further notice. 

"I don't know what they'll do if he does get [the virus]," the woman said about her incarcerated son. "I don't know what measures they'll take for him. And i don't know how they'll keep it contained."

She tells Local 5 she just wants more transparency from the correctional facility.