On its face, it makes perfect sense: Release nonviolent offenders from prisons and jails, both now hotbeds of COVID-19 infection fueled by overcrowding, poor hygiene, and a surfeit of inmates with underlying health conditions. Public health experts agree that decreasing the prison population is the best way to forestall explosive COVID outbreaks in these settings. Fewer inmates mean more space to socially distance and proportionally more cleaning products, medical supplies and PPEs for both prisoners and staff.
Nearly every one of our 1,844 state prisons has at least one reported infection; more than 35,000 infections and 345 deaths have been reported so far among inmates and staff at state and federal prisons and local jails. Indeed, the nation’s two largest COVID hotspots are both Ohio prisons, and a Tennessee prison and a California federal prison have also reported more than 1,000 cases.
The nation’s 218 immigration detention facilities are also dangerous. Of 1,736 detainees tested out of a total population of nearly 30,000, 811 (47 percent) are confirmed COVID cases. Though the highest numbers are found in the border states of Texas, California, Louisiana, and Arizona, significant numbers have also been reported in Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.Read Debby’s Full Article at Nonprofit Quarterly