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After 30 COVID-19 deaths, protestors call for increased protections in Connecticut prisons

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Yonah Zeitz
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The Katal Center
Members of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice outside of the Connecticut Department of Correction on September 7, 2022.

Activists gathered outside Connecticut’s Department of Correction headquarters on Wednesday to demand stricter COVID-19 guidelines in state prisons.

In total, 30 Connecticut prisoners have died from COVID-19 complications. Protesters said those deaths were caused by prison overcrowding, lack of personal protective equipment and poor testing regimens.

The Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice led the protest. Tiffany Minakhom said she blames the Lamont administration for the 30 inmate deaths.

“These are examples of state sanctioned murders,” Minakhom said. “These are deaths that could have been prevented.”

Yonah Zeitz, the center's advocacy director, said those deaths point to a failed system that will continue to be tested.

“Over the last two and half years, one thing that has been clear is that the DOC is really incapable of keeping incarcerated people safe during any public health emergency,” Zeitz said. “So we know that there is also another emerging public health crisis around monkeypox and unfortunately, this was probably not the last."

"This plan that we want to be put in place is not only going to protect people now, but it will also protect people in the future.”

The center’s proposed plan includes providing inmates with better personal protective equipment and increased COVID-19 testing for prisoners and state Department of Correction staff.

Molly is a news fellow, working on the Long Story Short, Higher Ground, and other podcasts at WSHU.