Cleveland resident Tiffani Dailey, who along with several others, has been protesting outside the Bradley County Jail to raise awareness regarding the need for personal protective equipment for inmates, said on Tuesday that all those incarcerated inside the facility have received face masks to help protect them from COVID-19.
In addition, she said the jail will begin accepting face masks, with some modifications.
When the masks were handed out late Monday, Dailey said she and her fellow protestors met the news with tears and relief.
The group has been leading a peaceful protest outside the jail since last weekend.
Dailey organized the protest when she learned her boyfriend, who is an inmate at the jail, did not have access to a face mask. In addition, he had concerns about how well the facility was being disinfected to protect his fellow inmates from COVID-19.
She, as well as Paris Kirby, went into action, publishing a petition on change.org and establishing a GoFundMe account to help non-violent inmates make bail to obtain early release.
The petition has garnered more than 68,000 signatures. In addition, the GoFundMe account has received more than $8,000 in donations.
Currently, there are 33 inmates and seven jail staff infected with COVID-19. The inmates, however, are asymptomatic.
“This is not just for our loved ones,” she said. “This is for all loved ones … anybody that has someone incarcerated or going through issues with the Bradley County Jail.”
She said the goal of the protest is not to bring negativity against the jail.
“We’re here for a peaceful protest,” she said. “We just want their voices heard.”
Those wanting to donate masks to the jail must provide the following:
• All masks must be light in color (white is preferred, with no words or messages on them);
• Masks must have drawstrings that loop behind the ears. Those with drawstrings will not be accepted; and
• Masks with metal strips or wires that bend to fit over the nose will not be accepted.
The jail will also be accepting face masks made by volunteers.
Daily said the jail has 800 masks in supply. The current population of the jail is 332 inmates. As a result, Dailey said the jail will need to increase the number of masks available, with the goal of providing two per inmate.
She said some inmates are responsible for the daily cleaning of their cells; thus, cleaning supplies are needed.
“We need to make sure the daily procedures and guidelines are followed through and that the inmates inside are cleaning the cells and pods in the proper way,” she said. “If they are not going to clean in the proper way, then we’re going to have to push for changes to ensure they are going to be cleaned in a proper way.”
She said the cleaning supplies are sometimes short in supply.
“The reports we are receiving from the inmates is that some corrections officers may not be willing to provide them extra cleaning supplies when they run out,” she said.
In addition, Dailey said female inmates are in need of personal sanitary products.
“We need to make sure they’re not reduced to a certain amount of pads per day,” Dailey said.
Dailey said a GoFundMe account has been created to provide funds to help inmates, who are not a threat to the community, pay their bond amounts, so they may be released and avoid infection.
For those who cannot be released, Dailey said the funds will be available to inmates so they can purchase basic-need items in the jail commissary.
Her plan is to make the funds available to them through the commissary kiosk or through Smart Deposit.