When we think about bed bugs, we usually think about creepy crawly things in our beds when we stay in hotels, but that’s not the only place that suffers from them. Bed bugs go anywhere people go, and unsurprisingly, that can also mean prisons and jails.
While we can leave our hotels and homes for them to be treated, people in jails and prisons are often stuck with the situation they’re in. That means if they’re suffering from bed bugs, they have to suffer until they’re released or until those running the jail or prison choose to do something about it.
Just as there are news items about hotels and motels getting complaints (or even sued) by customers who experienced bed bugs, there are also numerous reports of inmates having to endure bed bug-infested conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent news stories.
Bed Bugs in Jails & Prisons
Bed Bugs in Oklahoma
In May 2021, a pregnant woman detained in Oklahoma County Jail spoke to News 4 about the terrible conditions she faced, that left her concerned for the wellbeing of her unborn child. She reported being held in a cell full of black mold, feces, and bed bugs.
In July 2021, a man leaving the Oklahoma County Jail told News 4 he’d left covered in bed bugs, just a day after the OSDH sent jail administrators a letter removing their right to hold juveniles. Michael Stange, the man in question, told News 4 the bed bugs were huge, “about the size of a dime.” He didn’t want to spread the bed bugs around, so he had to walk to a truck stop and shower off to remove them from his body. This was, unfortunately, just one of the terrible conditions he endured and saw at the jail.
Just four months later, Oklahoma County Jail appeared in the news again for bed bug problems and other related issues. In November 2021, a woman also reported being covered in bed bug bites after being released on bond from the jail. Again, the bed bugs were not the worst of the problems – she was even denied water.
Bed Bugs in South Dakota
Fortunately, things are not as bleak at all county jails as they are in Oklahoma. At Minnehaha County Jail in South Dakota, the wardens acted quickly upon being alerted to the presence of bed bugs in August 2021. Two incarcerated men woke up with bed bugs and Warden Mike Mattson acted as soon as he was told upon arriving to work. “We immediately checked the unit and came up with a plan to have everybody shower, get them new clothes, move them to a new unit and treat the blocks that those gentlemen were in.” A pest control company treated the jail blocks and the men involved were checked over by medical staff.
Jails are an environment in which bed bugs thrive – people are constantly coming and going, and those people are often living transient lifestyles, which means there are plenty of opportunities for the bed bugs to transfer there and away. The good news is that bed bugs can be treated quickly and easily by a professional pest control company, and frequent visits by a professional or K9 unit can ensure that any space, be it public, residential, or commercial, is kept free of bed bugs. To find a bed bug professional near you, click here.