Hundreds of Inmates in Jails and Prisons Are Dying of COVID-19 Across the US, Authorities Overwhelmed

By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated July 11, 2020

Authorities of correctional facilities are overwhelmed as 100s of inmates in jails and prisons across the United States are dying of COVID-19. Prisons and jails are a breeding place for the pandemic as detainees are forced to live, work and eat in close quarters.

The outbreak at San Quentin State Prison has claimed the lives of seven incarcerated people. COVID-19 cases in the prison began soaring in late May after a transfer of detainees from the California Institution for Men in Chino. The pandemic has also ravaged through correctional facilities in central Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and Texas. About 90 inmates and nine staff members with COVID-19 have died. Moreover, over 10,500 detainees across Texas facilities have or have had the deadly virus. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, at least 1,927 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

A recent study revealed that the number of incarcerated people infected with COVID-19 and the coronavirus-related death rate in federal and state prisons is higher than the overall US population. Mass testing in prisons revealed wide COVID-19 outbreaks with infection rates exceeding 65%. But then, there are many facilities that are not testing inmates at all.

Groups have been calling out the government that the pandemic has made conditions at correction facilities even more visceral. WHO has also acknowledged that COVID-19 outbreaks in indoor crowded places might suggest that droplets of the virus could travel airborne.

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