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Prison Workers In Fear Over Virus, Police Benevolent Association Exec Says

Florida Police Benevolent Association
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In Florida prisons, more than 12,000 inmates and 2,000 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 59 inmates and two staff members have died.

Jimmy Baiardi, Corrections director with the Florida Police Benevolent Association, says that state prisons have become a difficult workplace for corrections officers.

“I’ve talked to hundreds of officers from across the state. And the best way to express their current situation is a living hell.”

Baiardi says they’re short-staffed, working for longer hours and on days off, and living with the fear of catching the virus or bringing it home.

The Florida Department of Corrections has announced special measures at prisons with outbreaks. They include mask wearing, isolation, cleaning and broad-based testing.

But Baiardi says the officers – just like the inmates’ families – don’t think the department has a handle on it.