Monday 25 September 2017

Underwear shortage at US prison

Watchdog officials say the clothing shortage in prisons is part of wider problems such as overcrowding
Watchdog officials say the clothing shortage in prisons is part of wider problems such as overcrowding
Watchdog officials say the clothing shortage in prisons is part of wider problems such as overcrowding

A clothing shortage is forcing inmates in at least one prison in the US state of Illinois to wear the same underwear several days in a row, causing a health and hygiene concern, a watchdog group has said.

During a recent visit to the Taylorville Correctional Centre, the John Howard Association found that inmates wore dirty and badly worn clothes that were washed twice a week, The Bloomington Pantagraph newspaper reported.

The prison in central Illinois issues each inmate only two pairs of underwear, which means they must be worn for multiple days without washing. Inmates were once also given a new set of clothes every six months, a practice that no longer happens.

"The practice of administering used underwear that inmates must wear multiple days without washing raises serious hygiene concerns," a report issued by the group states.

"The Department of Corrections must find a way to provide sufficient clothing for inmates."

John Maki, who is director of the association, said: "I think this is a problem system wide." He added that the underwear shortage is a symptom of larger problems such as overcrowding in the state's prisons.

Stacey Solano, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said officials are doing their best in difficult financial times, keeping in mind that the state has a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

"This issue is like many facing the state where budget constraints prevent us from being able to do mass uniform replacement," Solano said.

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