COVID-19 Outbreaks in Jails and Prisons
The close proximity of people in correctional facilities makes them particularly susceptible to the spread of COVID-19. Without adequate protective action, one case can quickly turn into hundreds. Unfortunately, the virus has become rampant in many prisons and jails in California and across the country, with eight of the top ten coronavirus hotspots in the U.S. connected to jails and prisons.
Under reporting and Mishandling of COVID-19
As of April 2020, 86 percent of the jurisdictions reporting nationally had at least one confirmed COVID-19 case among their inmates or staff, with more than 7,600 total cases and 103 total deaths reported. However, the actual number of virus cases in correctional facilities is unclear and could be much higher. Many prisons and jails are not reporting their data on coronavirus, and many more are not testing their inmates at all. In California, just four percent of inmates have received a COVID-19 test. In addition, the Board of State and Community Corrections has not collected or shared information about the spread of COVID-19 in the facilities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasized the need to take preventive measures to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in correctional facilities. Prior to the WHO’s notice, civil rights groups and correctional officer unions also warned local, state, and federal agencies that prisons were unprepared to handle a pandemic. With the shocking number of cases reported and inadequate testing months later, some are wondering if prisons and jails failed to heed these warnings and negligently allowed the outbreaks to happen.
Getting Legal Help for Inmates
If you or a family member was incarcerated or detained in a prison or jail that experienced a COVID-19 outbreak, we encourage you to contact CaseyGerry at (619) 238-1811. We’ll discuss your situation and explain your legal rights. There is no obligation when you call.