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Michigan activists are calling on Governor to address high COVID-19 rates within the state’s prisons.

A growing number of women are incarcerated in the U.S. and many of them give birth in prison or jail.
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Michigan activists are calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to address high COVID-19 rates within the state’s prisons.

Dozens of activists with the Michigan Poor People’s Campaign stood on the front steps of the State Capitol Building Monday afternoon.

Kim Redigen read a statement from Efren Paredes Jr.

He is serving a life sentence at the Lakeland Correctional Facility near Coldwater.

“More than 13 dozen lives have been claimed by COVID-19. In the state's prisons from the beginning of the pandemic, their deaths have occurred largely in part because they could not properly socially distance and protect themselves from the virus for proper masking.”

Data from the Michigan Department of Corrections show a large majority of those incarcerated in the state’s prisons have tested positive for COVID over the course of the pandemic.

The governor’s office has not responded to a request for comment.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community. Michelle is also the voice of WKAR's weekend news programs.