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Staton Correctional Facility lifts quarantine after tuberculosis scare

Staton returned to normal operations last week after being placed on quarantine since the end of November.

Staton Correctional Facility and Draper Correctional Facility near Elmore, Alabama. GOOGLE EARTH
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Staton Correctional Facility returned to normal operations last week after being placed on quarantine since the end of November when tuberculosis was discovered at the prison, according to a spokesperson with the Alabama Department of Corrections.

The department spokesperson said that “all testing and evaluation have been completed” on the over 1,200 incarcerated men housed at the medium-security facility, with Dr. Burnestine Taylor, assistant state health officer for communicable disease with the Alabama Department of Health, approving the prison to be re-opened after the four-month quarantine. No official number of cases at the facility was released by ADOC.

Taylor said in an interview with APR last week that “there was really only one active case” discovered after the screening was completed, with over 20 individuals testing positive with latent tuberculosis, which presents no symptoms or possibility of spreading the virus, over the quarantine.

“Whenever you do a mass screening, you’re likely to find people in the population that have been exposed to TB in the past, not only just in congregate settings like the prison,” Taylor said. “We do offer preventative treatment, so that should there be any compromise to the immune system, hopefully to prevent them from developing TB disease in the future.”

For cases of active tuberculosis, treatment includes regimented doses of four medications for six months, with latent tuberculosis treated with a single medication over the same time frame, according to Taylor.

The quarantine began in late November at Staton Correctional Facility due to an incarcerated man passing away while positive with active tuberculosis, according to a source at the Elmore County facility. The incarcerated man had been extremely contagious at least two weeks prior to his death, but it is unclear whether he died as a result of tuberculosis.

All classes were halted beginning in December, along with all transfers and movement between state prison facilities. Court-ordered classes like the prison’s crime bill treatment program, which is the facility’s only substance treatment program, were halted as well.

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At the end of February, at least 41 individuals came back positive for latent tuberculosis, the source said.

On Feb. 15, Reginald Rashard Davis, a 41-year-old incarcerated man at Staton Correctional Facility, began complaining of “respiratory issues,” according to an ADOC spokesperson at the time. Davis’ condition rapidly deteriorated, and he was pronounced later that same day.

No official cause of death has been released, with the death still under investigation by the Law Enforcement Services Division of the ADOC.

According to annual tuberculosis statistics from ADPH, 66 cases of the disease were reported to health officials across Alabama in 2022, with no clarification on whether those cases were latent or active.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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