(Riverhead, NY) Inmates at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility are currently busy making hundreds of cloth masks for distribution to other incarcerated individuals, the County’s law enforcement officials, and soon for distribution to other essential workers in Suffolk County. The program is being led by several Suffolk County Correction Officers, who just happened to have the skills to operate the jail’s industrial-sized sewing machines, along with a group of female inmates, some of whom had sewing skills, or expressed a willingness to learn and assist in the sewing effort. So far, they have made more than 800 cloth face coverings over the last few days and expect to have 1200 in stock by the weekend.
Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr. couldn’t be more pleased with the work, and how he believes his staff has come together in creative and unique ways during this pandemic. “I take the public health component of my responsibilities very seriously, and this is just one of a multitude of ways we are working to prevent the spread of coronavirus inside the Suffolk County Correctional Facility. The inmates are learning skills while giving back to society and helping to prevent the spread of COVID 19. It’s of great benefit to all,” said Sheriff Toulon.
Under the initiative, all county inmates will be issued two washable cloth masks. While Sheriff’s Office employees have essential PPE, the cloth masks will also be made available to them as needed. The Sheriff hopes to begin donating the masks to outside agencies and essential workers very soon.
To assist with this effort, the Sheriff’s Office is requesting donations of cotton cloth and elastic for the ear loops that are either 1/8” or 3 mm flat or round, white or black, woven or braided elastic in spools of any length. Anyone wishing to make a donation may contact Lieutenant Adeline Kuhnle, the project leader for the initiative, at email@example.com.