Inside Weber Co. Jail: Inmate shares experience during outbreak

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OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Six inmates at Weber County Jail filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court on Friday, asking for more inmates to be released to home confinement and for more health measures like a mask requirement. ABC4 spoke to an inmate on how conditions have been in the jail during the outbreak.

Last week, officials with Weber County Jail said the prison is doing everything they can to keep inmates safe, but for a few weeks, I’ve also been talking to an inmate who says the outbreak could have been prevented. 

“They say they are doing everything they can, but the truth is that, is that the harm has been done already.” said inmate, Richard Ukorebi.

Richard Ukorebi tested positive for COVID-19 while behind bars at the Weber County Jail.

“I’m having chest pains, I’m having back pains, when I came into the jail I was weighing 178, now, the last time I checked, I weigh 165,” said Ukorebi.

He says 35 out of 48 inmates tested positive in his unit.

“We really can not social distance, and follow the CDC guidelines,” he said.

In a previous interview with ABC4 News about the outbreak, Lt. Joshua Marigoni said it’s normal for the jail to house several inmates in one unit.

“Any jail setting social distancing is difficult to do, because of the constraints of the building itself and the detention setting,” said Marigoni.

Ukorebi says inmates don’t get many cleaning supplies, just rags and home-made masks.

“It’s not the kind of mask that has been recommended by the CDC for us to use,” said Ukorebi.

But Marigoni told us previously, all inmates are given supplies.

“We’re going above and beyond on giving cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, every inmate is issued a mask upon intake and has been for about a month or more,” he added.

Ukorebi says medical access is limited. When he told officials his symptoms, it took 5 days for him to get assistance. He recently was prescribed an inhaler to help with his breathing.

“When you have a seizure, I know that’s the only time you can be taken the hospital, other than that they just check our pulse everyday, and our temperature,” said Ukorebi.

Have questions about coronavirus?

The lawsuit filed Friday argues Weber County didn’t take proper steps to prevent the spread of the virus and some attorneys are asking for early release dates for non-violent inmates.

Jordan Verdadeiro
She is a multilingual multimedia journalist. Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Jordan was born and raised in New Jersey and comes from a Chilean and Portuguese background and hopes to tap into the diverse communities that range in northern Utah.

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