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Iowa inmates earn $1.15 per hour producing COVID-19 supplies

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - One of Iowa's most reliable sources of personal protective equipment to fight the coronavirus has been a statewide prison labor program that can pay inmates as little as 58 cents per hour.

Prisoners have helped make 98,000 masks, 40,000 gowns, 17,000 face shields and 24,000 gallons of hand sanitizer in recent weeks.

The Iowa Department of Corrections says inmates and staff at several prisons have been working weekends and nights, including 12 hours on Easter Sunday, to produce the supplies.

The gear is used to protect inmates, guards, state employees and health care workers. Inmates make between 58 cents and $1.92 per hour.

Dean Welte

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