The topic on everyone’s minds is how to protect themselves from COVID-19 infection. This holds true among every group, including those who are incarcerated. The challenge of how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among inmates and prison staff is at the forefront of prison systems across the country. How do we protect inmates, and how do we protect the prison staff and their families from contracting and spreading the virus?
Dangers to Prison Staff
Prisons are by nature enclosed spaces with people in very close proximity to each other. According to Greenwich Time, “Public health and corrections officials have issued dire warnings that cramped and unsanitary conditions could turn prisons into a haven for the virus, endangering not only inmates but also corrections officers and prison healthcare workers, as well as their families and communities”. This concern has been brought up by President Trump, who stated in a recent press conference that he is considering early release for nonviolent prisoners. All visitation to federal prisons has been halted, and many counties across the country are either releasing nonviolent prisoners, or they are only arresting those accused of violent crimes to help alleviate the overcrowding present in most jails.
The conditions present in jails and prisons is a direct concern to staff, who have no choice but to show up for work to perform their vital tasks. As a result, corrections officials across the country are calling for more hand sanitizer, gloves and face masks to protect staff from infection, but the fear persists.
Finding a Solution
The balance between incarceration and public health is a precarious one, but with proper care, those who work in corrections can better protect themselves. It is important to practice social distancing whenever possible, practice good hygiene by washing hands frequently and work with officials to develop plans to limit the number of inmates that gather at one time.
This is a tumultuous time for everyone, but only by working together can we begin to see the reduction of new COVID-19 infections. If you are concerned for your safety while working in the field of corrections, please contact Harman Law Firm. Protecting your safety and your rights is important to us. You dedicate your lives to keeping us safe, so let us help protect you.
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