TDOC Donates Protective Masks
HENNING – As the COVID-19 virus continues to affect the world and the communities we work and live in, the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) is doing its part to help combat this pandemic. The TDOC offender population at West Tennessee State Penitentiary (WTSP) has stepped up to manufacture and donate PPE’s across the state.
Earlier this month, offenders in the TRICOR textile program were asked to manufacture Tyvek gowns for first responders. Recognizing the need for protective face coverings, the inmate’s switched gears and began producing much-needed cloth masks. Since last week, they have created and shipped well over 20,000 masks to TEMA, staff, and inmates at every TDOC facility, county jails, CoreCivic facilities, sheriff’s departments, the highway patrol, and TDOC Central Office in Nashville.
“We will be making the masks until they aren’t needed anymore,” said TRICOR Production Manager, Charlotte Cooper.
Quinton Sanders first learned to sew when he began working in the TRICOR program in 2012. “It was an experience learning how to make the gowns with the Tyvek material, and now we are making masks,” Sanders said. “The masks have small details so it took a little bit of time to learn how to make them, but once we got them we have been able to produce around 3,400 a day- our goal is to make 5,000 a day. We are a good team and moving forward, each day we keep getting better and better.”
Sanders said it has been fulfilling to be able to help provide others with masks and gowns. “There’s a dire need. Being able to make these masks makes me feel like I am saving someone’s life, or that I get to help save them and it has been a blessing. I put my all into this,” Sanders said. “I have been working double shifts when I can because I think we all have a purpose. We all pray that they find a cure soon.”
In the wake of this pandemic, offenders at the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) have been manufacturing protective face masks. Protective gowns and face masks are being manufactured at WTSP. 93-thousand masks and 30-thousand gowns have been donated since the beginning of April to those most in need.