Sunday, May 3, 2020
US Does Little To Protect Incarcerated People From COVID
Despite advocacy asking states to release incarcerated individuals early, the US has released relatively few people in comparison with other countries. Prisons and jails are not safe for the incarcerated or for staff. Only a few days ago Governor Cuomo announced that pregnant women women would be released. But the group of women to be released is narrow. Only women with convictions for non-violent crimes will be released and only then if their remaining sentence is under six months.
Release wouldn't be as critical if jails and prisons were otherwise safe spaces. But those inside report horrid conditions. There is not effective or even enhanced sanitation. Women who are suspected of having symptoms are often isolated in deplorable conditions. At one prison, women were moved to a prion wing that had been closed in years. The cells are filthy with walls filled with mold. Others report a shortage of food, and and disinfecting supplies. No efforts are made at physical differences.
Human Rights Watch issued a report. While it is NY specific, the report is worth a read. The frightening conditions described are prevalent in most jails and prisons across the country.
People trapped in jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers are sitting ducks for COVID-19. They are locked up in overcrowded indoor environments with poor ventilation and sanitation, frequently lacking basic health care, nutritious food, and protective resources such as hand sanitizer. In these conditions, the rapid spread of the virus is inevitable. For the 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States—which imprisons its population at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world—the results will be catastrophic. If lawmakers are serious about minimizing the toll of the pandemic, they should immediately release, to the maximum extent possible, those who are incarcerated and unable to protect themselves from COVID-19. We have already seen powerful release efforts in New Jersey, Kentucky, Iowa, and many local jurisdictions across the country, but the federal government must step up as well.
Posted by: jailaid | Aug 26, 2020 2:13:07 AM