Prisons and Covid and the Vaccine

So, we are learning now that Covid may have exposed HALF the prison population to the disease.

In Pennsylvania, a blogger recently writes that when the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections finally tested the prison population, the prison in which he is incarcerated has close to 50% positive rates with deaths ensuing.

It is reported by PBS and The Marshall Project that 20% of persons in state and federal prisons have tested positive for Covid and 1700 have died (as of mid-December). This data is based on those who have been TESTED. Many have not.

Thus, these numbers are considered to be undercounted.

I will be brief: When we see the priorities on who gets vaccines, we do not see any prioritizing of prisons even though with close confinement – and the inability to easily have regular access to laundry, soap, hand sanitizers, fresh air and so forth – these institutions should have the same priority as nursing homes.

The American Medical Association has also asserted that prisoners and correctional staff are high-priority populations for the vaccine. In part this is because medical care is so limited in prisons . In part this is because of the close quarters in which prisoners live and the officers work.

As of early December, prisons were the location of the 5 highest Covid clusters. People in prison do not deserve to be infected simply because they are incarcerated and are unable to properly follow guidelines for protecting their health and the health of others.

It is my hope that they will not be left behind to be ground zero for exceedingly high deaths in comparison to the general population. We are already in a crisis in the United States and in the world. Let’s not compound it by ignoring a population that needs the proper resources to protect itself from the virus.

This higher exposure to Covid is NOT supposed to be part of their punishment.