“We’re being told in the free world that social distancing and sheltering in place is the appropriate response—so then it is probably the appropriate response in prison too,” said Craig Haney, a psychology professor from University of California, Santa Cruz who has studied the effects of isolation on incarcerated people.
“The difference is that what it means in prison is so much more onerous.”
Alison Horn, an investigative supervisor with the nonprofit legal organization Civil Rights Corps, said she worried that fear of a solitary quarantine or a unit-wide lockdown could lead prisoners to hide how ill they are.
“If the response to having symptoms is punitive,” she said, “that discourages them from speaking up about it. You need people to be honest about their symptoms.”