Prisoners ‘Terrified’ as Coronavirus Spreads Behind Bars

Originally published by The New York Times on 30/03/2020

Summary

Prisons across the country are reporting increases in Covid-19 diagnoses, where social distancing is impossible and sanitizer is widely banned. Hunger strikes in immigrant detention centers have been reported. Authorities have been prompted to release thousands of inmates in an effort to slow the spread of infection, preserve medical resources and save lives. Attorney General Barr has ordered an assessment of at-risk nonviolent inmates who have served much of their sentence in considering early release or home confinement. Possible release involved a complex set of criteria and would not result in immediate transfer because of the concern that the prisoner could further spread the virus once freed. The releases vary from state to state: in Cleveland, Ohio a judge led an effort to expedite cases for inmates awaiting trial. Proceedings that would typically run 60-90 days were resolved within 2-3 days; in New York City, some inmates who were convicted of non-violent crimes and serving sentences of less than one year have been released; in Los Angeles, releases have been limited to inmates who were scheduled for release in 30 days or fewer and had been convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors . Deputies have also been instructed to make fewer arrests and the Sheriff has asked the district attorney and courts to delay some criminal proceedings.

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Coronavirus in juvenile detention is a ‘nightmare scenario,’ doctors and advocates say

Originally published by NBC news on 26/03/2020

Summary

Depicts conditions and measures taken in US juvenile detention facilities amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the measures taken have included eliminating in-person family visits, classes (replaced with packets for children to complete on their own), social worker and religious staff visits, etc. Doctors, former probation juvenile detention officials and youth right advocates argue that the most effective way of preventing an outbreak in these types of facilities is to release children who are not safety risks from juvenile detention. An estimated 16,000 children are held in detention centers across the US – another 4500 minors are in adult jails and prisons. The article also raises some state specific responses.

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