The death of a prisoner in Louisiana’s state prison is raising concerns that the coronavirus could spread without dictating to US prisons that house more than two million people.
Health officials and local leaders are warning that inmates are largely at risk of spreading the virus and that hospitals near prisons will be defeated in the event of an outbreak of pandemic among inmates. Some prisons are taking action in hopes of easing a crisis on the horizon.
In the United States, a 49-year-old prisoner became the first to die of coronavirus, alarming the nationwide prison system. Louisiana, which has seen an increase in coronavirus cases across the state, is among the first to release convicts who have not committed violent crimes, reducing the number of inmates in hopes of preventing the spread of the virus. New York City is doing the same.
Officials in the largest U.S. city say banning the spread of coronavirus in prisons is an urgent priority. More than 200 prisoners and prison staff have been affected by the virus, prompting Mayor Bill De Blasio to order the release of several hundred prisoners. “There are about 500 prisoners convicted of petty and non-violent crimes.” In Chicago, judges are examining cases one by one if several hundred prisoners can be released.
But in the conservative state of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott is blocking such releases despite opposition from the public and several other authorities. “I have heard the voice of law enforcement officials and citizens raising concerns about the release of prisoners, which has happened or is predicted to happen, that dangerous criminals can be released from prison as a result of coronavirus.” U.S. Attorney General William Barr has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to release sick and elderly prisoners on parole. NGOs want other groups released as well.
Michelle Bachalet is the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights. “In order to drastically reduce the number of prisoners, to enable physical distancing, they must consider the release of those convicted of petty crimes.
Prison should be the last resort, especially during this crisis. ” The head of the federal prison staff union demands that the government stop all prisoner movements for at least 21 days. The Bureau of Prisons says it will force all young prisoners to enter quarantine for 14 days. So far, there are several dozen cases confirmed by coronavirus among federal prisoners.