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Risk Of Outbreak In Prison

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Apr 26, 2020.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    It is not a matter of how but when the coronavirus will enter prisons and jails, based on health experts’ prediction. The consequences of that eventuality could be devastating. It is likely to spread like a wildfire due to close quarters, unsanitary conditions, the population that is in an age group, and/or have health conditions making them vulnerable and the large number of people that cycle through the criminal justice system. I know it is inappropriate to use “outbreak” and “prison” in one sentence, but with 2.3 million people in the US in prison or jail on any given day, an outbreak in these facilities poses threat to the US.

    Practicing most simple hygiene such as washing hands is not possible particularly when hand sanitizer is often treated as contraband because it contains alcohol. Even if the incarcerated have access to water, often they do not have anything to wipe their hands. Covering mouth and nose is impossible especially when a prisoner is transported from one facility to another as he/she is handcuffed and due to security status. Many prisoners have health conditions such as Tuberculosis, Asthma, HIV, Hypertension, Diabetic, Heart-related problems, and pregnancy.

    Prisons also have considerably more elderly people, who are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Even though most incarcerated are at a young age, due to the harsh sentencing policies of recent decades, the prison population is aging and between 1999-2016, the number of people 55 or older in state and federal prisons increased 280 percent and it is estimated that by 2030, there will be over 400,000 people in our prisons over the age of 50. Even without an outbreak, most prisons are not capable of meeting the medical needs of the sick prisoners, causing them to suffer and die in cruel and inhumane circumstances. Doctors writing in the AMA Journal of Ethics said that treating seriously ill prisoners cannot “meet ethical standards of human dignity”.

    Though incarcerated populations have a constitutional right to adequate health care, the reality is they too often do not have access to it. Prisons and jails have few infirmary beds and fewer rooms for medical isolation. Medical staff attending those who are infected are vulnerable due to lack of proper protective gears and if they are healthy, the correctional staff may be exposed to the decease resulting in them unable to bring the prisoners who are sick to the medical facilities.

    People are constantly taken to a court hearing, and then being released or booked into correctional facilities depending on the decisions by the court. The prison population is a floating population other than serious offenders, most stay for a few years and go back to the community. The correctional facility staff is walking the corridors of the prison to watch over the activities of the prisoners exposing themselves to the disease. Moreover, there are visitors, vendors, medical staff, maintenance staff, etc. constantly visiting the prisons.

    At this point, there is a lot of social workers and lawyers fighting to release prisoners who have committed lesser crimes to be released from the prison system. High profile prisoners fight with the help of their lawyers to go out on bail or agreeing to be monitored through a wearable device and remain in their homes wherever they are located. In some cases, Judges are lenient and in other cases, those petitions are rejected outright.

    It is imperative to at least test prisoners who show symptoms for COVID-19 and quarantine them separately to prevent the disease from spreading into other prisoners. Every person who goes through the prison system should be tested before permitted entry into the prison. There are many who are incarcerated for an immigration violation and they must be released and deported to their respective countries. Those who are not able to protect and defend themselves from the virus are the ones that need quick and instant attention.
     
    sln, Mistt, shravs3 and 3 others like this.
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  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:In Indian states prisoners who had committed lesser crimes have been released under some conditions already in view of COVID risk.
    TN too followed suit.
    To visualise the great risk in us like prisons - macabre indeed. It could lead to global disaster.
     
    Viswamitra likes this.
  3. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    In any case, who knows when the courts will start functioning normally. In USA some states have released some prisoners. It will be difficult to handle the situation once it spreads in the prisions.
     
    Viswamitra likes this.
  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    In the US also, some states have done that already. In the case of the federal government, the Government has released some high profile prisoners because they could afford expensive lawyers. I wish the government recognizes the risk the whole country will face if the disease were to spread inside the prison.
     
  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Hari Sir,

    There is a talk that the US will begin reopening some states sooner than later. There is a published report by Singapore University about the curve has flattened in most countries where the disease was spreading quickly. Based on this report, the US will flatten the curve on May 11th and India on May 21st.

    Data-Driven Prediction of COVID-19 Pandemic End Dates
     
  6. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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  7. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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    A very well presented article covering all infirmities and inadequacies in prison life.From what I understand they are better protected than the 1.2 million residents of 2.6 sq.kms of dharavi slum. Prisoners have immediate access to medical help.Over crowding is a major problem and as a first step undertrials who have spent more time than what is warranted as a punishment should be released.Alternate sanitisation methods can be tried.Well informed prisoners can be trained as Corona Warriors to keep a watch on the unruly prisoners.
    I am very happy that you thought of this forgotten segment as after all they are also human beings and deserve attention.Regards SLN
     
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