‘He’s wearing two masks’: Brother of ACI inmate explains his concerns

Coronavirus

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The concerned brother of an inmate at the ACI explained what it’s reportedly like inside the prison right now.

With 600 COVID-19 cases reported at the ACI in November, Jeffrey Newman says it’s a matter of life and death that his brother finish out his jail time in home confinement.

“The concern was right from the beginning,” he explained.

Jeffrey said he is hearing first hand from his brother Paul how bad things are.

“They are in lockdown mode,” he said. “They are in their cells about 23 and a half hours a day.”

Paul Newman is an inmate within the medium security section at the ACI.

There were 102 inmates in November who tested positive for coronavirus in medium security, according to the R.I. Department of Corrections.

“He’s wearing two masks,” Jeffrey said. “He’s found a way to block off the ventilation system in his cell.”

Those measures are being taken because of Paul’s compromised immune system, according to his brother who said the 56-year-old received a liver transplant in 2001 due to a rare disease.

Jeffrey explained his brother was sentenced to serve three years at the ACI and two years at home confinement after a 2017 hit and run accident on Newport Avenue in East Providence that killed 46-year-old Maria Raposo.

“Family out there has lost somebody, so I understand that and I wouldn’t imagine they would have a lot of compassion for my brother right now and I wouldn’t blame them,” he said.

Jeffrey doesn’t believe his brother should receive a clean slate, but is asking that he finish his sentencing in home confinement.

Director of the R.I. Department of Corrections Patricia Coyne-Fague says that’s possible, but not easy.

“The state on home confinement is extremely strict on who’s eligible for that,” she explained.

Coyne-Fague says that a decision for an inmate’s release is ultimately up to the courts. A long process that Jeffrey hopes will play out in his brother’s favor.

Jeffrey said his family was in touch with a warden at the ACI Friday, who said his brother’s most recent test for COVID-19 came back negative. Inmates are being tested once a week.

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