Lakeland Correctional Facility | Michigan Radio
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Lakeland Correctional Facility

cell block in a prison
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The coronavirus is rapidly spreading in some Michigan prisons, especially Lakeland Correctional Facility, Parnell Correctional Facility, Cotton Correctional Facility, Macomb Correctional Facility, and the Women's Correctional Facility.

Forty-one inmates in Michigan prisons have died of COVID-19 as of April 30. 1,412 others have tested positive for COVID-19.

There could be hundreds, if not thousands, more who have been infected. 

 Efren Paredes Jr. with his wife Maria Zavala and their 10-year old daughter.
Courtesy of Maria Zavala

Physical distancing is essential to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. But in prison, it's nearly impossible. That's left inmates like Efren Paredes Jr. afraid for their health and safety. Paredes is one of nearly 1,400 men incarcerated at Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater. More than half of them have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Exterior of fence and prison grounds
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Corrections is testing every inmate for COVID-19 at its Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson.

That's after tests of all the inmates at another prison, Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, found that 80% of inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 showed no symptoms at the time that they were tested (it's not clear how many of those were asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic).

John McGuire for Michigan Radio

More than 40% of the prisoners at Lakeland Correctional Facility are lifers. But not every life sentence is the same.

We’ve reported a lot on the lifers who were sentenced for crimes they committed before they were 18. Some of those lifers have a new sense of hope after the Supreme Court decided that sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional.