1st female inmate dies from COVID-19


30+ state prison inmates have died since the start of the pandemic

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The first female inmate to die from COVID-19 was housed at the Wrightsville Hawkins Center.

The Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) said the inmate, in her late 30s, died Sunday, August 16, at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock after undergoing treatment for COVID-19-related symptoms.

The prison is in Pulaski County. The Hawkins Center can house up to 212 inmates and there are 80 employees, according to ADC’s website. As of Wednesday, August 19, there were 579 cumulative positive COVID-19 cases at all three Wrightsville locations. An additional 32 inmates tested positive since Monday, August 17, according to the ADH.

Arkansas state officials made a decision to test all inmates, a population of more than 16,000, and found 67 COVID-19 cases at the Benton Unit in Saline County and 103 cases at the Varner Unit in Lincoln County. No cases were detected at Varner Supermax where death row inmates are housed, according to the ADC.


  • In June there were seven inmate deaths and all were cremated. (KNWA/FOX24 has 2, of the 7, inmate deaths reported as COVID-19 related).
  • There were 99 suicidal threats in June and eight attempts.
  • 271 admissions and 585 releases by the end of June.
  • Overall, the state’s prison inmate population decreased by 1,207 for a total inmate count of 16,552.
  • Ouachita River Unit has the most inmates at 1,687.

The total positive inmate cases are 6,698 and 1,020 positive staff. Recoveries and deaths are not listed as of early August by ADH.

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