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COVID-19 positive inmate speaks out about what he's experiencing inside the Utah State Prison

Posted at 6:56 PM, Nov 25, 2020

DRAPER, Utah — With over a thousand prisoners now testing positive for COVID-19 those on the inside are worried about what the future holds.

“So right now, I’m not experiencing too many symptoms of COVID” Calvin Hansen a COVID-19 positive Inmate in Draper State Prison who spoke exclusively to FOX13 told us during an interview. “It started with an extreme sinus headache and then it was a fever and then it led to difficulty breathing about 4 or 5 days after positive testing and then it was body aches that felt I had been run over by a truck.”

Calvin's mother, Cathy Linford also spoke with us over a zoom call, telling FOX13 “To say this has been the biggest nightmare has been an understatement” As tears begin to roll down her face she said “Just worrying if he is going to be alive… just every time he calls, I think okay, it's okay he is going to be okay today.”

Hansen is serving time for a probation violation on a 2011 sexual battery charge.

After being released from Prison he was order to attend counseling but after a deferment because of lack of ability to pay he violated his parole and was sent back to prison and ordered to finish a program on the inside.

“I did absolutely what I did” Hansen says “I just want to get the programming done but there is no programming going on in this prison period right now.”

He has been told he must complete that programming before he can be let out but his Mom is trying to get a compassionate release for him so he can complete this on the outside.

“I’ve been working on this since COVID first hit the prison.” Linford says.

Another reason that she has been trying so hard is because her son has asthma, before he tested positive both of them were worried about what would happen.

Now that he has tested positive, he says he feels good when he wakes up but the longer, he is awake the worse he gets.

Others however are not doings as well according to Calvin who says “There’s people in here that I am surprised haven’t died over the weekend. They are coughing heavily. They are coughing so hard they are throwing up. There’s people curled into balls cause of pain.”

Hansen is saying that they are receiving limited medical care and the prison giving them just Tylenol for the pain.

“Everybody feels abandoned” He says even pointing out other fellow inmates “feel this was purposeful infection.”

The Utah Department of Corrections has issued a statement that talks about their medical care that says in part “Our medical staff are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In areas of an outbreak our medical staff have an active presence on those units at least twice a day to check-in with incarcerated individuals.”

Hansen and others say they have tried to complain about their conditions or file a complaint, telling FOX13 “The lieutenant here and one of the and one of the officers here refuse to give us level one grievance forms for a week and a half” he says “We just barely got some yesterday and so that way we can start the grievance process in order to defend our own right.”

While he talks to his mother every day, both of them say they are still worried about how COVID will affect her son in the long-term.

You can find more from the Utah DOC here on the outbreak at the prison.

Loved ones are also encouraged to call the hotline the UDOC has set up for those outside of the prison at 801-545-5505 or email corrections@utah.gov.