You are here: Home » International » News » Others
Business Standard

US states shutting down prisons, transferring inmates as Covid takes over

There have been more than 480,000 confirmed coronavirus infections and at least 2,100 deaths among inmates and guards in prisons

Topics
Coronavirus | prison | US prison

IANS  |  Washington 

Brazil prison riot
Representative image

Battered by an unabated spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths, local jails and state systems across the US have resorted to a drastic strategy to keep the virus at bay: shutting down completely and transferring their inmates elsewhere, a media report said.

"From California to Missouri to Pennsylvania, state and local officials say that so many guards have fallen ill with the virus and are unable to work that abruptly closing some correctional facilities is the only way to maintain community security and prisoner safety," Xinhua news agency quoted The New York Times (NYT) report as saying on Saturday.

The newspaper quoted experts as saying that the fallout is easy to predict.

The jails and prisons that stay open will probably become even more crowded, unsanitary and disease-ridden, and the transfers are likely to help the virus proliferate both inside and outside the walls.

There have been more than 480,000 confirmed cases and at least 2,100 deaths among inmates and guards in prisons and detention centres across the nation, according to a NYT database, among those statistics are the nearly 100,000 correctional officers who have tested positive and 170 who have died.

"Early in the pandemic, some states tried to ward off virus outbreaks by releasing some offenders early and detaining fewer people awaiting trial in order to reduce their populations, but those efforts often met with resistance from politicians and the public," said the report.

More recently, as arrests in many areas have increased, jail populations have returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to data collected by the Vera Institute of Justice, a non-profit research and policy group based in New York.

"That fact, combined with widespread infections among correctional officers, staffing shortages stretching back many years and strains on medical facilities, have pushed states as the pandemic progresses toward more concentration and crowding, rather than less, in part through closure of strained facilities," said The New York Times report.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US has reached a total of 20,396,243 as the discovery of a highly contagious new virus strain in the country increases pressure to speed up the vaccination process.

The death toll currently stands at 349,933, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The country, which makes up about 4 per cent of the world's population, now accounts for nearly one-quarter of over 83.8 million cases and 19 per cent of 1.8 million deaths reported worldwide, showed the university's data.

--IANS

ksk/

 

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, January 03 2021. 09:26 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.