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3rd prison inmate dies of COVID complications
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3rd prison inmate dies of COVID complications

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Locked Housing

Items for a shower kit at the high-security locked housing unit at the Montana State Prison.

A third inmate who had been incarcerated at Montana State Prison has died from COVID-19-related illness, the Montana Department of Corrections said Friday. 

The Department of Corrections declined to release the inmate's name in the release, although it confirmed the inmate died at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. The department's "deaths in custody" page on its website lists the most recent death as Gene Richard Meredith, who died Nov. 18 at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. He was 62.

As of Friday, the department reported 401 cumulative cases confirmed among inmates at Montana State Prison outside of Deer Lodge, up from 346 reported on Monday. Powell County in which the prison resides has had 393 cumulative cases, according to state officials' tally. Five inmates are hospitalized, Montana Department of Corrections spokeswoman Carolynn Bright said Friday afternoon.

Although the inmate died in Missoula, his death is listed in Powell County on the state's COVID-19 response website. 

There are 112 active cases at the prison, according to the department.

“The Montana Department of Corrections extends its condolences to this individual’s family and friends,” DOC Director Reginald D. Michael said. “The department is deeply invested in the health and safety of inmates and is fully committed to providing the best care possible to patients throughout this global pandemic, and on a daily basis.”

In 2010, the Montana Supreme Court upheld Meredith's conviction for a deliberate homicide in 2006 for which he was sentenced to life in prison. 

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"They're contracting the virus because they're there trying to mitigate the spread and help people get healthy again," the state corrections director said of medical staff working at Montana State Prison.

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