South Dakota prison inmates helping to produce personal protective equipment

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – The South Dakota Department of Corrections says inmates are producing personal protective equipment for prison staff.

South Dakota prisons have several manufacturing shops that have turned to producing cotton face masks, nylon gowns and plastic face shields amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Corrections says the equipment is not approved for medical use, but could be used in an emergency.

The prisons plan to produce several thousand gowns, masks and disposable face shields that could also be used by other government agencies.

One woman held at the Women’s Prison in Pierre tested positive for the coronavirus last month, sparking fears that infections could spread rapidly in the facility.