A second prisoner at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft has died, possibly related to COVID-19.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections confirmed the recent death this week but has not identified the inmates. Friday night, a group held a vigil outside Eddie Warrior Correctional Center for the two prisoners who died and the 781 others at the facility who tested positive for the virus. Loved ones, advocates and local leaders who gathered said the vigil was a way to remember the women who died. They also want to remind the prisoners not to give up.
They vow to be united in prayer with their passion to help those who are locked up.
"We're asking for a lot of clarity, a clear mind, open heart,” the group prayed.
Organizer Tiffany Walton said she talked to the two women before they died, and she admired how they helped other prisoners.
"They were good ladies,” Walton said. “They were motivational people in here. They kept the ladies positive. They made the ladies go and complete school."
State data shows Eddie Warrior currently has 67 active COVID-19 cases among prisoners and 714 recoveries. Bradley Robertson told News On 6 his mom recently tested positive.
"She knows what she's up against here,” said Robertson. “They all do."
As the group calls for change, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said it has added extra safety measures. Those include deploying Rapid Response Teams to facilities declared virus "hot spots."
Justin Wolf with ODOC explains:
"Whenever we have increased positives within a facility, we declare it a hot spot and that starts a protocol to that facility just to ensure they have enough supplies to be able to deal with the situation as it presents itself.”
Advocates for the prisoners told News On 6 they also met with some state representatives before the vigil. They said they shared their concerns and feel optimistic about future collaboration.