EL PASO, Texas -- Inmates from the El Paso County Detention Facility are assisting the Medical Examiner's Office by moving deceased bodies into mobile morgues.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego confirmed with ABC-7 that trustee inmates are helping morgue personnel who are overwhelmed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trustee inmates are inmates with good behavior whose crimes are low-grade misdemeanors, and they work on a voluntary basis.
The EPSCO said four to eight inmates have been assisting everyday for eight hours since Monday.
Inmates are provided full personal protective equipment while they work, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office who also said the inmates are accompanied by a sheriff's deputy and two jail detention officers.
Samaniego said the Medical Examiner's Office recently reached out for help. He said the assistance from inmates is only temporarily as the morgue awaits help from the Texas National Guard.
However, there's no word yet on when guardsmen are expected to arrive.
Samaniego said as of Saturday there were 145 bodies being held at the morgue facilities.
Ten mobile morgues have been sent to help with capacity at the morgue - but one is not operational. Samaniego said five of those are currently being used to store bodies.