CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Some regional jail inmates are turning again to a judge for protection against the pandemic, claiming they’ve been kept in the same quarters with cellmates who’ve contracted COVID-19, and they are not regularly tested for the virus.
The inmates are seeking a federal injunction to require Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation Commissioner Betsey Jividen and regional jail wardens to “immediately engage in adequate prevention and management of COVID-19.”
U.S. District Judge Robert “Chuck” Chambers will hear arguments from officials and inmates Wednesday. He denied a similar injunction request in April 2020.
Since then, jails neither have tested regularly nor isolated inmates from others infected with the virus, attorneys Jennifer Wagner and Lydia Milnes of Mountain State Justice wrote in an Oct. 12 motion.
“Defendant’s failure to consistently abide by basic requirements for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 has dramatic, real-world impact: People in Defendant’s custody are sick and dying as the result of these failures,” Wagner wrote…