‘Basically, we all have COVID and it’s just circulating in the air’, former inmate says of Utah State Prison

Local News

DRAPER, UTAH (ABC4 News) – A former inmate is speaking to ABC4 about what he says are the conditions inside the Utah State Prison in Draper.

“Basically, we all have Covid and it’s just circulating in the air,” said Michael Knowlton.
Knowlton was granted early release on Tuesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was inside on October 30th when the prison went into a code-red lockdown down due to the potential of a second COVID outbreak.

The first happened back in early October.

It’s when Knowlton himself tested positive.

“Everybody that had it they moved us to another section, and left people that were just exposed to it, and moved people that were negative into that section with all the people that were exposed,” he explains.

On November 4th, the prison confirmed an 82-year-old man who tested positive on October 30th passed away.

His positive result was the same day the second lockdown was announced.

In a release on the Utah Department of Corrections website, it says the man did have pre-existing conditions.

The department says his cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

“There’s a lot of old guys in there, and they’re not really getting proper help in there,” said Knowlton.

The latest numbers on cases being reported by the department reveal 572 inmates have tested positive at the state prison. That’s with 303 that have recovered.

It’s all while there are now eight confirmed COVID cases within what the facility calls its Dog Block.

“We don’t have gloves,” said Knowlton. “We don’t have sanitizer. People have to go get the spray and wash it themselves.”

ABC4 did reach out to the Department of Corrections to ask about the status of its lockdown. We were told by its Communications Director Kaitlin Felsted it’s facilities are “operating on a modified lockdown, meaning that out-of-cell time may be greatly limited in areas most impacted by the outbreaks.”

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