No Mercy For Prisons With Multiple Virus Outbreaks

Prison hallway
William Anderson
May 28, 2020

Prisons and jails have been under massive threat from coronavirus (COVID-19) since day one of the outbreak. Unfortunately, it’s only making a problem that was already there even worse. Another outbreak has been lurking in the background for far too long. 

Hepatitis C has been running rampant in U.S. prisons, taking lives while the deteriorating, poor nature of health care in these facilities makes things worse. The virus infects people in prison at 20 times the rate of the general population. This makes the crisis unique for us.

Since Black people make up 40% of the incarcerated population despite representing only 13% of U.S residents, we’re disproportionately likely to come into contact with the medical neglect inside prison facilities. These problems may be even more specific for certain Black people.

For Black women in prison, the specific needs that go unmet are worsened by these outbreaks. Perversely, the USA has focused more on filling prison beds than the healthcare system inside and outside of them. For well over 100,000 people, this is a life or death issue.

As prisons deny treatments because of drug prices and don’t release prisoners at risk of contracting COVID-19, many people are at risk of dying inside when they weren’t sentenced to death. We have to demand human rights for our people inside prisons and jails, too.

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