An estimated 300,000 people were held in solitary confinement in U.S. jails and prisons at the height of the pandemic. An international movement is pushing to limit the form of incarceration due to its damaging physical and psychological effects.
As covid case numbers rise nationwide, Georgia and some other states have restricted the case count data they share publicly.
Hesitancy about the vaccines among prison staffers has led to a striking disparity: Inmates are better protected than corrections officials.
In the Los Angeles County Jail system, many inmates hope being vaccinated will get them transferred more quickly to state prison. Some just want to protect themselves against covid, while others are distrustful and refuse vaccination.
Many inmates at Western Missouri Correctional Center, like their peers in prisons across Missouri and the nation, are hesitant about getting vaccinated against covid-19 because they don’t trust prison health care.
One California county is home to the two worst clusters of covid in prisons in the country. Ninety-four percent of Avenal State Prison’s inmates contracted the virus. Physical distancing has proved impossible in a facility housing 50% more people than it should.
Nina Porter of Indiana spent most of her adulthood behind bars, even raising an infant daughter in prison. Now out of prison, she’s drawing on her struggles to create a program that helps other moms get by in a sometimes unwelcoming post-prison world.
Montana sheriffs say the state’s decision to halt prison transfers has led to overcrowding that makes it difficult to quarantine inmates and clean facilities.
Executions have been on hold in California since 2006, stalled by a series of legal challenges. But COVID-19 is proving a lethal presence on San Quentin’s death row.
At $3.6 billion a year, California spends more on prison health care than other states spend to run their entire prison systems. But despite the spending, and federal court oversight, prisons across California are struggling to contain deadly outbreaks of COVID-19.