Sumter County, Fla. - Nearly 250 inmates and staff at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumter County have tested positive for COVID-19. Now employees and families of inmates are calling for more to be done to stop the spread.
The Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumter County has had 188 inmates and 52 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. One person died. The VP of the Southeaster Regional Prison Union Joe Rojas says employees at the prison are scared to go to work.
"I don't know if they have control of it, but it's very concerning for both inmates and staff," Rojas said. "I know a lot of staff members have their parents living at home, they have children so it's not just about us, it's about spreading it to our families."
The union is calling on the facility to have regular COVID-19 testing for inmates and staff.
"It's hard to social distance at a prison," Rojas said. "The best that the bureau can do is find out who's positive and quarantine them from everyone else."
Ludovic Francois' mother is in the prison complex. He says that she tested positive for COVID-19. This weekend himself and other families of inmates protested outside of the prison calling for more to be done to protect inmates.
"They weren't sentenced to death," Francois said. "They came here to do their time and go home they didn't come there to die."
According to the Federal Bureau of Prison website, they've suspended social visits, suspended inmate internal movement, with exceptions like medical or mental health visits. Federal prisons also isolating inmates who may have been exposed or have symptoms. Staff and inmates are calling for more to be done.
"Until we test it's going to get worse," Rojas said. "You might have people quit don't want to deal with it no more."
The Bureau of Prisons has not responded to our request for comment as of Sunday night.