Bedbug dilemma continues at South Dakota Prisons

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -While the Department of Corrections continues to deal with the fallout after the termination of the top leaders at the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, another State Prison is dealing with issues of its own.

As we first reported earlier this month, the Mike Durfee Prison in Springfield has been dealing with an infestation of bedbugs.

Alora Dobbelear continues to ask for help for her Fiance Alec and others in the Mike Durfee Prison in Springfield.

“They spray and doesn’t do anything because they got new mattresses, and they got infested really quick,” said Dobbelear.

The following day, Dobbelear was told that a portion of the mattresses with visible holes was gathered up.

That’s when we started to hear from Correctional Officers at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

A truck and trailer used to run deliveries between the prisons in Springfield and Sioux Falls pulled into the inmate shop Pheasantland Industries at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

Former Correctional Officer James Elledge watched the trailer pull up.

“The whole bedbug with the trailer thing, that was kind of weird. So the trailer came in like normal, and we were under the assumption that those mattresses were ok,” said Elledge.

While it was assumed the mattresses were arriving to be reupholstered at Pheasantland industries, the foreman informed the director they likely were infested with bedbugs.

We heard from another correctional officer that day, who said:

“The trailer that these mattresses are sitting in is used for our housing projects for South Dakota!”

We confirmed the cabinetry built at the prison’s Pheasantland Industries is shipped to Springfield for construction of the South Dakota housing authority Governor’s homes.

The decision was made to return the mattresses to Springfield with instructions to fumigate the trailer to prevent bedbugs from infesting future shipments.

What happened with the infested mattresses upon being returned to Springfield is unknown.

One thing that is certain according to do Dobbelear, according to her statement, is that the bedbugs in Springfield continue to bite.

“They haven’t done anything ...They don’t have anywhere to move them to so they can properly get rid of the bugs. They are still biting, worse than ever now because of it being so hot. Not having ac is making things miserable for everyone,” said Dobbelear.

Recently, the FDA and the CDC made a joint statement referring to bed bugs as a public health issue, as it can create a mild to rare severe allergic reaction, secondary skin infections, and create mental health issues.

A source in Sioux Falls who works at the Penitentiary says there have been recent bedbug issues in Unit C at the Sioux Falls Prison.

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