Breaking: 3 staffers at Baldwin immigrant prison test positive for COVID-19

By: - April 13, 2020 2:31 pm

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Updated, 5:53 p.m. with Monday’s numbers for the Milan facility.

Three employees at a federal immigrant prison in Baldwin have tested positive for COVID-19, the Advance confirmed Monday.

A spokesperson for the owner of the private prison, Florida-based GEO Group, said that no inmates have tested positive at the North Lake Correctional Institute, although it remains unclear how many tests are being administered to inmates as GEO does not disclose that information.

The three staff cases “are believed to be the result of community spread of the virus,” the spokesperson said.

North Lake is one of two federal correctional institutions (FCIs) in Michigan. On April 5, a group of at least 10 inmates housed in the solitary housing unit began a hunger strike to protest inadequate nutrition, inhumane living conditions and discriminatory treatment by staff. That strike was confirmed by the Advance to be ongoing on Friday, but it is not known whether there are still strikers as of Monday.

In its daily reporting of statewide COVID-19 data, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has been separating the state’s 30 Department of Corrections (MDOC) facilities into their own jurisdiction (“other”) for several weeks. On Friday, that number was broken down even further, with both MDOC and FCI facilities having their own jurisdictions.

The state’s other FCI in Milan has 21 inmates and 15 staff that are confirmed positive for COVID-19, as of Monday, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website that is updated daily.*

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.