Posted: Sun 7:54 PM, Apr 26, 2020
Updated: Sun 7:55 PM, Apr 26, 2020
STERLING, Colo. (KKTV) – The wife of a Colorado prisoner tells 11 News she has no idea if her husband has tested positive for COVID-19. He is currently housed at Sterling Correctional Facility in northeastern Colorado where 138 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus.
“It’s the news that I’ve been dreading since this pandemic started,” said Denise Ind.
Denise Ind spoke with 11 News reporter Catherine Silver on the phone over the weekend. She lives in Ireland, and her husband, Jacob Ind, is incarcerated in Sterling.
Jacob Ind was only 15 when he participated in a deadly attack on his mother and stepfather in Woodland Park. Pamela and Kermode Jordan were shot, stabbed, and hit with bear spray in December 1992. Ind, who claimed the attacks followed a lifetime of abuse, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to two life terms without the chance of parole, but was given a second chance in 2017. A judge determined that one of his attorney’s violated his constitutional right to testify in his defense and blocked him from taking the stand. Ind was given a new trial, but instead of facing a jury he pleaded guilty and was re-sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Denise Ind tells 11 News she has not heard from her husband in nearly two weeks. She says its unusual to not speak to him. The two stay in touch via phone calls and video chats. She says she found out about the outbreak at Sterling Correctional Facility on the news.
“My heart sank, because I know that the outbreak is where my husband is,” said Ind. “I immediately felt sick to my stomach.”
The Department of Corrections announced Friday that at least 138 inmates at Sterling Correctional Facility have tested positive for COVID-19. The DOC previously had only 9 people test positive there.
The State says the majority of the positive cases are on the east side of the facility where Ind says her husband is.
“He knew that if there was an outbreak in there it could get pretty bad, but he was hopeful that there wouldn’t be one,” said Ind.
11 News asked Ind what she heard from her husband about the conditions inside of the prison before April 14th when further restrictions were put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“He said that very few people were wearing masks and that some inmates had made their own, but they seem to be keeping on top of disinfection,” said Ind. “Things have been restricted quite a bit before they put the total lockdown in place.”
The DOC says Sterling Correctional Facility is on Phase III modified operations. Inmates are mostly isolated and only leave their cells to shower or use the restroom. All meals and medications are delivered to inmates in their living units. The inmates have access to their normal personal property during the quarantine period, as well as access to mail.
The state expects the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at the facility will climb even higher. On Friday, The Department of Corrections announced 473 symptomatic and asymptomatic inmates were tested at the Sterling Correctional Facility back on April 22. As of Friday, results came back for 255 inmates, 138 of which tested positive.
“Given the insidious nature of this virus we had suspected that despite seeing a relatively low number of inmates with symptoms, the number of positives was potentially much higher,” said Department of Corrections Executive Director, Dean Williams. “That is exactly why we conducted this large scale testing, so that we can continue to isolate, monitor and treat any inmates who were positive and try to mitigate the spread to others inside the facility.”
The facility has continued to undergo extensive cleaning multiple times a day and staff and inmates are all required to wear face coverings in the facility at all times. All of the inmates on the east side of the facility are having temperature checks done twice daily as an additional screening measure.
“As far as I’m aware they’re in their cells basically 24/7 and they’re not allowed to make calls or have video visits,” said Ind. “It’s a horrendous feeling not even knowing if they’re OK or not. It is the worst feeling in the world
Denise Ind says she is working with other families to set up a donation fund for inmates there who might need stamps or other things during this time.
“We’re hoping to be able to do a bit more and set up a fund to help those inmates who don’t have the family resources that others do to be able to buy basic things like soap and stamps and maybe some extra food,” said Ind. “They are human beings. We think everybody deserves at least a basic level of care and we just want to help.”