Prison Guards Are Making COVID-19 Outbreaks Worse

Covid-19 vaccine and syringe
Zain Murdock
August 26, 2021

According to new data, prisons across the U.S. are seeing VERY low vaccination rates. But not just in incarcerated populations – in prison officials! In California, for example, 73% of incarcerated folks are vaccinated, but only 40% of officers are.

And that’s the average. In one prison it’s as low as 16%! But it’s not just vaccinations, either.

Prison guards have contributed to COVID-19 outbreaks by refusing to social distance, report detainees’ symptoms, or wear masks. It’s not just those officers’ personal choices affecting their own health, but who they’re surrounded by.

Over 1 in 3 incarcerated folks have had the virus, and thousands of incarcerated people have died of COVID-19. They’re locked in cramped quarters and subjected to unmasked, unvaccinated officials, brutality, and inadequate healthcare. 

“The staff are the ones bringing Covid in,” says 66-year-old Malinda Jones. “They are making us sick.” Although incarcerated populations are the most vulnerable, this affects all of us, too.

Prisons exacerbate the COVID-19 crisis, because officers are coming home to their families and communities. They can get them sick – and you.

When prison officials refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated, they’re putting the people they claim to want to "rehabilitate" at a huge risk. But that's not shocking when the system itself was never intended to keep us safe.

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