New York to release inmates in concern of Covid-19 cases increasing to 15,000. With the coronavirus setting its feet in the United States of America, Government Officials are scrambling to make executive decisions in time to barricade further spread the virus. One measure being taken so far is the US releasing prison inmates as the numbers of cases in prisons take a toll. According to authorities, inmates are more vulnerable and at a higher risk of catching the virus due to close proximity between prisoners in the hallways and due to lack of hygienic facilities for all of the inmates.
If such measures are not taken, then it will become harder for the government to stem the outbreak as, on any given day, the US locks up about 2.3 million offenders a day, any of which could be a carrier and result in further transmission of the virus. Concerns regarding this have increased due to the lack of preparation for the pandemic on a large scale.
Measures are taken so far?
Alongside this, Cleveland and Los Angeles have also emptied cells at their federal reform centers and prisons, releasing around 600 prisoners, those who are vulnerable and can contract the disease easily as well as those who have committed very minor crimes. This has allowed more space for the rest of the prisoners allowing them to maintain distance within captivity.
Quote; “Our population within our jails is a vulnerable population just by who they are, where
They are located, so we’re protecting that population from potential exposure”, as said by Los
Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva via reporters earlier this week. To further bar the spread of coronavirus, judges in Cleveland, Ohio, have also done quick proceedings to allow prisoners to have reduced prison time, some of them, who will not even have to serve any prison time. Fewer arrests are also being made in order to hoard up lesser prisoners yet still keep the law and judiciary system in place.
New York Cases In Prisons as of yet?
So far, concerns have arisen because of the coronavirus testing positive for a security guard and a prison inmate at Rikers Island prison where currently, Harvey Weinstein (68) is captivated. Officials say he will be moved. Moreover, at Sing Sing prison, one inmate has tested positive for the virus and one officer forms its Reform Office has died due to it.
Healthcare issues in Prison?
These measures are being taken due to the lack of proper sanitation within prisons and the lack of space, wherein one cell, up to prisoners can be kept which could possibly endanger the lives of the officers as well as other inmates. Moreover, prisons sinks lack soap and sanitizer as it is alcohol-based and contraband, handcuffed prisoners aren’t given the luxury to even wipe their hands, or even cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing and the cafeteria hygiene is also hard to maintain.
The measure took by other countries
Other countries that have also implemented this strategy include Iran which has released around 85,000 people which include political people as well as minor criminals. Pakistan has also started primal screening of the inmates since the 16th of March.
The USA, which, as of now, has seen the first prison case of Covid-19 in bridge water as well, while the total number of the people affected by the virus is 15,219 with 201, reported deaths. If the situation is mishandled, the USA could see above 800 deaths due to the virus, just within prisons.
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By: Hadia Sabah