This past week, federal and state correctional facilities across the country have confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 infections among inmates and staff. New York City’s primary jail, Riker’s Island, currently has the most confirmed cases, with 52 inmates and 30 employees testing positive. As this blog and other outlets have reported, crowded conditions, limited access to healthcare, and a high-risk population mean those incarcerated are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
Federal and state prison officials have started releasing their action plans in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The BOP and some states have suspended legal and/or social visits and inter-facility transfers for 30 days or more, among other changes in policy that we discussed last week. The links below will direct you to the complete guidance issued by the BOP and various state prison authorities:
As businesses and governments scramble to contain the coronavirus pandemic (“COVID-19”), one segment of society is uniquely vulnerable: the prison population. Poor hygiene, limited medical resources, overcrowding, and prohibitions on over-the-counter medical supplies such as hand sanitizer make corrections facilities and immigration processing centers very susceptible to the disease. It presents a serious threat to the prison system and could quickly escalate into a disaster if immediate steps are not taken.