COVID-19 Transmission in Corrections

Tue, November 10, 2020 10:37 AM | Marsha Grant (Administrator)

COCHS Weekly Update:

November 10, 2020

COVID-19 Transmission in Corrections

The Appeal: Coronavirus In Jails And Prisons

Homer Venters has been to prisons, particularly in the South, where there are still at between 80 and 120 percent of capacity and where really not much has been done in a meaningful way to prevent the spread of infection. Some of these states are trying to lower the age at which a person can become a correctional officer, or they’re trying to raise the salary of correctional officers. He does not hold out for better facility development that improves infection control. His primary recommendation has always been for places to consider high-risk people for release to protect them from dying.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Breaking out in prison: COVID-19 gaining traction in Montana correctional facilities

Nine months since the coronavirus pandemic began afflicting the country, some of Montana’s most highly populated correctional facilities are swamped with disease spread that shows no sign of being contained. As of Friday, the Department of Corrections had recorded 261 positive cases among inmates at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge and 114 among staff members. The prison is more than 85% full with roughly 1,400 inmates in custody. There are an additional 99 inmate and 21 staff cases at Montana Women’s Prison in Billings.

Springfield News-Leader: Two more Fed Med inmates die amid prison outbreak

Late Friday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said that two more inmates at Springfield's Medical Center for Federal Prisoners died Wednesday after they were infected with COVID-19. In total, four prisoners have died since Oct. 31, according to Bureau of Prisons news . Both men had underlying conditions and received "daily symptom checks" before being transferred to a "local hospital," officials said. Hospital staff pronounced them dead Wednesday.

COVID-19 Preventive Release

The New York Times: 2,258 N.J. Prisoners Will Be Released in a Single Day

In a sweeping acknowledgment of the risks of the coronavirus in cramped prisons, New Jersey released more than 2,000 inmates on Wednesday, Nov. 5, as part of one of the largest-ever single-day reductions of any state’s prison population. More than 1,000 additional prisoners will be released in the coming weeks and months after earning early-release credits for time served during the health crisis — resulting in a roughly 35 percent reduction in New Jersey’s prison population since the pandemic began ravaging Northeast states in March.

NJ Spotlight News: Prisoner release raises concerns about their health during pandemic

New Jersey released thousands of people from prisons Wednesday to try to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in corrections facilities, but questions remained about the state’s ability to support the public health needs of this vulnerable population. Former Gov. Jim McGreevey, a prominent advocate for prisoner rights who now leads the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, said re-entry partners around the state pulled together in recent weeks to support the state’s release, working with the DOC and other departments to try to secure specific resources for each individual leaving custody: federal food stamp benefits; general assistance or welfare support, which is connected to housing subsidies; a Medicaid card; access to medical treatment, including for substance use and mental health needs; and employment training. Individuals also need a government-issued ID card other than their prison identification.

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