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Mock-Graveyard At Capitol Created To Demonstrate Inmate Deaths From COVID-19

The grounds in front of the historic capitol were transformed into a mock-graveyard Saturday. The group, Florida Prisoner Solidarity created the demonstration to mark lives lost from COVID-19 in Florida prisons.

One of the group representatives spoke to the media during the event: “It represents the 85 people that are documented having died due to COVID-19 under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Corrections. So as you can see each body bag has a toe tag with the day they lost their life."

The group is calling on Governor Ron DeSantis and other officials to take immediate action to further reduce the state’s prison. The asks include granting parole to some 4,000 eligible prisoners, as well as authorizing compassionate and early release programs to all state prisoners.

Research from John Hopkins shows prisoners are 550 percent more likely to catch COVID-19. More than 15,000 inmates throughout Florida have contracted the disease.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.