Decarcerate car rally in support for Hampden County Jail inmates

Coronavirus Local Impact

LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – A car rally to show support for inmates at the Hampden County Jail who are under a temporary medical lock down took place Friday afternoon.

Protesters told us that they are asking for video calls, expanded medical care, and food options for the inmates than what is currently being offered.

More than 60 cars drove by the jail with signs to show support for the inmates. Sheriff Cocchi says the jail is currently under a temporary medical lockdown due to a cluster of 12 cases of COVID-19 at the jail.

That means that some non-COVID related medical needs have been placed on hold. He says hot food has been limited due to not having the mechanism to deliver it during the medical lock down. Video visits have been limited due to the lock down but inmates still have access to phones.

22News spoke with Aime Matos of Springfield who said, “It’s just a peaceful protest. No one is getting out of their vehicle. It’s just to make them aware that we are here, we are here to support them, meaning the inmates.”

Sheriff Nick Cocchi also told 22News, “This was a medical lock down. It wasn’t a discipline lock down. The inmates have been very well behaved. We’re quickly working to get back to normal operations, they deserve that.”

The jail has conducted more than 680 tests on inmates so far but they are unaware of how exactly the virus got into the jail. Cocchi says all symptomatic and COVID-19 infected inmates are in single cells so that the virus does not spread.

Sherriff Cocchi says all privileges in place under the current COVID-19 protocol will be restored on Tuesday when the lock down ends.

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