As the COVID 19 case numbers in El Paso rise, so do the deaths. Now jail inmates are being put to work at the El Paso morgue to help handle the extra bodies.

The number of people suffering from COVID 19 has overrun El Paso area hospitals to the point that temporary hospitals have been set up and extra staff placed on duty. The National Guard was even brought in to help with the flood of victims and fatalities. While the sick have flooded medical centers, the number of COVID 19 related dead bodies has stretched the El Paso morgue to its limits.

To help with the space shortage the county set up 8 temporary morgues and a couple more are on the way. As for the worker shortage, inmates from the El Paso County Detention Facility are helping until the National Guard can take over. The inmates are "trustees", low-risk inmates typically locked up for misdemeanor offenses and kept in minimum security, that are allowed to work around the jail. They aren't usually paid for their work but, in this case, they refused to work for free so they get $2 an hour.

A spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, Chris Acosta, told the Texas Tribune that "between four and eight inmates from the detention facility’s trustee program are volunteering daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m". He added that: "the inmates, one deputy and two detention officers are given personal protective equipment and are required to wear it". - Texas Tribune

See pictures of the inmates at the temporary morgues here.

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