Lewis Prison Expands Temporary Housing To Slow COVID-19

By Austin Fast
Published: Sunday, December 27, 2020 - 2:49pm
Updated: Monday, December 28, 2020 - 8:34am
Audio icon Download mp3 (933.26 KB)

COVID-19 is forcing Arizona’s prison system to expand temporary housing again. Inmates head from county jails to state prisons after sentencing, and over 6,850 people have made that transfer since the pandemic picked up in March.

The Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis Morey Unit, just south of Buckeye, has just announced additional temporary housing for 200 people. Back in August, the state prison in Tucson also added a 193-person intake center.

This extra space allows for grouping COVID-positive and COVID-negative prisoners separately to slow the spread of the virus.

“With the expansion of our intake capabilities, we are able to continue to accommodate the expanding needs of our public safety partners as COVID-19 cases rise across our state,” said David Shinn, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry. "We continue to group those who test positive for the virus together upon intake, so they can receive appropriate care and medical clearance before entering into the general inmate population."

The new intake center at Lewis prison will house inmates in a newly renovated cell environment, where they will receive meals directly to their housing location. Each inmate housing unit at Morey includes newly configured swing doors with detention-grade locks, as well as new fire alarms and HVAC systems.

Get The Latest News On COVID-19 In Arizona