Families of inmates protest Barren Co. Detention Center’s response to COVID-19 outbreak

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 11:32 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - In a news release Saturday, Barren County Detention Center officials said there were 73 positive cases among inmates and employees. The jailer said more testing was scheduled to take place on Wednesday to get an updated case count, but several inmates said they were not tested.

“I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall, I don’t know what else to do,” Sharon West said. Her daughter is currently in the detention center. West, along with several other family members protested outside of the detention center on Wednesday. They said their loved ones who have tested positive are not receiving proper treatment for the virus.

“I’m wondering what they are doing for treatment,” West said. “Sometimes I feel like it is hard enough to get aspirin, much less treatment for COVID.”

West’s daughter said she is afraid of catching the virus because they are not properly quarantining those who have tested positive.

“They are overpopulated. There is no such thing as social distancing inside of a jail," West explained.

She went on to say they are also not properly sanitizing communal areas, according to what her daughter says.

"I mean my daughter is 20, is she going to die from the pandemic before she makes it to rehab?” West asked.

We reached out to Jailer Aaron Bennett, but he did not wish to comment on the protest.

Another mother of an inmate, Marlena Lee, said her daughter Tiffany tested positive for COVID-19. Her daughter is experiencing symptoms, but Lee feels that she is not getting the treatment she needs, and as a mother who just wants to take care of her daughter, her hands are tied.

“Four weeks ago she was fine, and now she is sick. They’re not doing anything for them, they’re just letting them lay in there," Lee explained.

Jailer Bennett said they are not allowed to release much of what is going on inside of the jail because of HIPPA. He also said no inmate has been released for medical reasons, and that would be a judge’s decision to make,

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