THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) IN PRISONS


14 Jun

Now that we are well past the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19), there have been a number of class action lawsuits and other actions  addressing particular areas.

In the state of New Jersey, up to 1,000 inmates are being released from state jails in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.  This does not necessarily mean that the criminal justice system is placing the public at risk.  Generally speaking, these are persons convicted of probation violations or low level crimes.  This is based on national determinations from health experts who have determined that the virus spreads quickly in smalll, confied places.

Parents are complaining that they want their infected children out of Juvenile Detention Centers.  In the State of Louisiana, facilities have reported that safe distancing is impossible, and there is not enough antibacterial soap and sanitizing products.  Statistics show that many children in correctional facilities have pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and HIV infections, which make them at more danger from the ramifications of COVID-19.

In the state of Texas, there is a class action lawsuit on behalf of inmates contending that there is no access to hand sanitizers and hand soap.  Many of the members of the class action are over the age of fifty (50) and have pre-existing conditions, which make COVID-19 more dangerous to them.  Additionally, in many of the facilities where prisoners are forced to make hand sanitizer, they are not getting the benefit of it.

There has been a settlement in Connecticut where the ACLU filed suit.  The settlement will provide inmates with more protective equipment including face masks and soap.

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