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Coronavirus: The Prison Population

Inmates at the Cook County Jail line up to vote in the Illinois primary election after a polling place in the facility was officially opened for early voting on in Chicago, Illinois.
Inmates at the Cook County Jail line up to vote in the Illinois primary election after a polling place in the facility was officially opened for early voting on in Chicago, Illinois.

Businesses. Schools. Events. Many communal spaces have been affected by the spread of coronavirus in the United States. Americans are being advised to avoid them in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. But what happens when avoidance isn’t an option?

The rate of incarceration in the United States is about 1 million people a month. Guards and officials show to work every day to support corrections facilities. Coronavirus is probably spreading inside America’s jails and prisons (it’s already happening in China). Inmates, however, can’t work from home or refund a concert ticket.

Furthermore, prison healthcare systems tend to be poorly supported and understaffed. Items like hand sanitizer can be considered contraband.

How are U.S. prison managers and officials planning for outbreaks of COVID-19 in the penal system?

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