Inmates, ACLU Raise Concerns About COVID-19 Transmission in Dallas County Jail

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More than 200 inmates at Dallas County’s Lew Sterrett Justice Center have so far tested positive for COVID-19.

On Thursday, the ACLU announced a class action lawsuit calling for immediate intervention and improvements to conditions inside the jail.

“It seems like the end of the road for life, everybody in here is sick,” inmate Dylign Gardner said over the phone.

Gardner believes it was an inevitability that he would contract COVID-19 due to the current procedures in place. According to Gardner, he was moved to the portion of the jail holding COVID-19 cases after a fellow inmate in a nearby cell was deemed to be “presumptively” positive for the virus.

“Why would you put me in a tank with people who have coronavirus before you tested me,” Gardner said.

At the time, Gardner had no symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 days later. According to the Dallas Count Sheriff's Office, Gardner was housed in a "non-Covid-19 tank" until May 18, 2020 when medical staff requested he be moved to a quarantined tank.  

Outside, Gardner’s family and others said they are worried about the safety of inmates.

“Some people may have taken the wrong steps in life, but they are people too, like this is America and it is not fair to treat people as though they are nothing,” Nique Gardner said.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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