Inmate Manufacturing Programs Repurposed to Make Masks, Other Protective Gear

drape-5078080_1920 - Mask Sewing - pixabay - 4.27.20Inmates in some correctional manufacturing programs are switching gears from building furniture and other items to making masks during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Some inmates participating in the programs run by Maryland Correctional Enterprises at a handful of state prisons are now making personal protective equipment (PPE) rather than the typical products manufactured behind the walls.

From The Baltimore Sun:

To date, about 75 inmates have made more than 24,000 cloth masks, 18,000 plastic face shields, 4,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and 1,900 protective gowns ― all items that have been in short supply and are needed to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The inmates ― who volunteer for the jobs and receive “good time” credits that accrue toward their early release and a small amount of hourly pay ― have produced enough masks and face shields to outfit each of the more than 4,000 correctional officers in the system. Additional supplies are going to protect the inmates themselves from the spread of the disease, and then inmate-produced gear will go to other state agencies, [Robert] Green [secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services] said.

The article notes that the inmates who are usually paid between 17 cents to $1.16 per hour are receiving emergency bonus pay for their work.

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As coronavirus spreads in Maryland prisons, a small team of inmates makes 24,000 masks, other protective gear (The Baltimore Sun)