The lack of COVID-19 protections in prisons show officials believe that inmates are less than human, that they do not deserve to be protected from death like everyone else, and that their lives do not matter.
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In December, COVID-19 infections in prisons in the United States hit a record 25,000 in one week. Among correctional staff that month, there were an additional 5,000 new infections a week, leading to spread in surrounding communities.
More than 580,000 people at correctional institutions have been infected. The prisoner death toll has surpassed 2,000. Eleven months into the pandemic, the US prison system has not gotten control of its rising caseload, which is likely still underestimated.
One way to distinguish solitary confinement from COVID-19 quarantine is to give isolated people access to materials that help pass the time and keep them connected to others.
He did time in Pontiac. He did time in Menard. He did time in Stateville.
Those places held Smiley but they will not define him which is to say of course they will define him because how can you spend time in a place and not take a part of that place with you?
Now Smiley works at Legacy Reentry Foundation in Waukegan.
State Representative La Shawn K. Ford hosts a virtual town hall to discuss state prison conditions during COVID-19.
This town hall is a chance to convey concerns about the Illinois Department of Corrections.
When: Monday, January 11, 2021
Time: 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Jails have become petri dishes for COVID-19.
The majority of people in jail have not been convicted of a crime, yet they are being exposed to the coronavirus. Those who cycle in and out of jails are also taking COVID-19 back into their homes, infecting Black, brown, and poor white communities.
There are almost 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States, the majority in state and federal prisons where people serve sentences of one year or longer, and turnover is slow. Yet in county jails where people serve short stints, there are more than ten million admittances every year, making it even more important to contain the spread of COVID-19 there. President-elect Joe Biden’s plan for the pandemic includes no mention of jails or prisons.
Even in the face of a global pandemic, the United States remains deeply wedded to mass incarceration.
In the wake of the recently passed stimulus bill, many Americans are complaining about the paltry direct payments of $600.
Without detracting from Congress’s failure to support the millions of people who need help, it is worth pausing to acknowledge one unexpected victory in the bill: It contains no prohibition on stimulus payments for incarcerated people.
It’s a good thing that Congress stuck to the policy of including incarcerated people in the pool of eligible recipients.
Even before the pandemic, day-to-day life in prison and jail was getting expensive, with commissary charges for basic food and hygiene items, and increasingly common pay-to-play e-book and music programs.
One in every five state and federal prisoners in the United States has tested positive for the coronavirus, a rate more than four times as high as the general population.
In some states, more than half of prisoners have been infected.
As the pandemic enters its 10th month — and as the first Americans begin to receive a long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine — at least 275,000 prisoners have been infected and more than 1,700 have died.
The Cook County sheriff’s office announced Sunday it will be suspending in-person visits at the Cook County Jail in hopes of warding off another coronavirus outbreak as cases rise across the county.
The suspension is effective Monday, the sheriff’s office announced, citing the rising case numbers.
As Well As The Stay-At-Home Advisory.
“For months, detainees were able to safely meet with family and friends. Like detainees, the people who visit them come from the community, where current test positivity rates for Chicago and Cook County are at 15.6% and 15.2% respectively.”
Sheriff Tom Dart implored people to take coronavirus precautions seriously, saying that an outbreak in the community could eventually enter the jail.
Early in the pandemic, reports characterized the Cook County Jail as a congregate setting hot spot for the coronavirus.
Sheriff Tom Dart’s office disputes that, and said it’s because the jail was doing testing for COVID-19 before other places, so it’s not a fair measurement.
Regardless, Dart and the jail’s medical director Dr. Connie Mennella say they took quick action to contain the virus – temperature checks, mask mandates, moving detainees to single occupancy cells, more testing – and got it under control such that the positivity rate at the jail is now lower than it is in wider Cook County.
But as cases are exploding outside, they’re ticking up within the jail.