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Prisons are in a tough spot in the pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has made prisons its hotspot. People who have been sent to jails and places of detention are at the highest risk of contracting the disease. People in prisons also fall under public health concerns and it is the responsibility of the people to make sure proper preparedness, prevention, and control are present in these places of detention. The global prison population is estimated to be more than 10 million. In addition, many of them have already exceeded their maximum occupancy.


Prisoners share the same bathrooms, sinks, toilets, and dining rooms. They share similar rooms as well as the bunk beds or cramp into one room. Around 80-90 per cent of prisoners are too poor to afford to live in a healthy environment. Therefore, they are more prone to get affected by diseases. This makes them more susceptible to contract any sorts of a new disease. During a pandemic, this situation gets even more complicated. Consequently, prisons need to take all sorts of additional precautions. Some governments have released prisoners to cut down the risk of the virus spreading through the prisons.


Northeastern University upheld the scenario that takes place in the prisons and shows how the staff members like the correctional officers, wardens, and cooks are also at the risk of spreading as well as contracting the virus. According to The Marshall Project, prison staff and inmate deaths have considerably increased in a short period of time.  There have been more than 33 deaths reported among prison staff in the U.S.


Many experts have stated that imprisoning someone at the given situation should be the last resort of the state. No prisons have actual hospitals to treat a patient. Moreover, the number of staffs in hospitals is also extremely low. Thus, the prisoners might contract the virus from their external medical care. It’s a time in which authorities should be extra cautious in dealing with such cases.


Subarna Basu