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Inmates make masks to help in the fight against COVID-19

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Inmates within the North Dakota Department of Corrections are helping to meet the need for PPE across the state.

Through a program with Rough Rider Industries, inmates at James River Correctional Center are making about 2,000 cloth masks a day.

Since the beginning of April, they have created about 60,000 masks, and the goal is to reach 100,000 by the end of August.

The project not will not only protect the population but it gives the inmates work experience before being released.

“Basically do a process. One will put the mask together. One will close them. One will plead them. And we just go in like an assembly line type and we have to work together. And at a pace where all of us are comfortable to keep moving,” shared Cordell Hipsack, one of the team leads.

The inmates involved are also creating floor signs, gowns, wellness barriers and bio-hazard bags.

All of these efforts are a major step toward meeting the needs of state offices, schools and military personnel like the National Guard.

“There was a big backorder. Being able to order them from Rough Rider Industries allowed us to get them in a timely manner. We purchased about 3,000 masks from Rough Rider Industries and we received them within a few weeks,” shared Chelsey Adams, a supply management specialist for the Guard.

Adams says mask were on back order until June of next year from national suppliers.

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