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How COVID-19 Impacts Prisoners

An Entire Population Is Being Ignored. This Is Unacceptable.

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking the world by storm. It crosses borders and boundaries without regard to race, creed, color, ethnicity, or residence. The rising death tolls of people in poverty-stricken areas is overwhelming, without a doubt.

But, what about those in custody? Whether it’s a person in a state prison, county or local jail, or federal prison, each inmate deserves to be treated with a certain level of humanity. The punishment for their crime is confinement and removal from society, NOT increased susceptibility to COVID-19 when it could be prevented. In a time like this, confinement and removal from society could create a deadly impact for prisoners and prison staff.

Are prisons doing enough to protect inmates from the COVID-19 pandemic? This health crisis appears to be boundless, like the Spanish Flu that broke out a hundred years ago. As a result, inmates can be greatly impacted without proper sanitation, access to medical care and social distancing practices. More action must be taken to protect inmates from contracting the disease.

Federal Inmate Deaths Due to COVID-19

As of May 7th, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported 2,646 confirmed cases and 44 deaths among federal inmates. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if prisoners had the means to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) precautions: Social distancing, washing their hands, wearing masks, etc.

On April 28th, a Native American woman died from COVID-19. She was pregnant, sick, and fighting for more than just making it through her sentence: She was fighting for her life. She delivered her baby by C-section while on a ventilator and died that same day. Although the child survived, her baby will have no mother, and miss out on a major familial bond.

How the Eighth Amendment Plays a Role

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments, along with excessive bail and fines. This amendment plays a role in the female inmate’s untimely death because it sheds light on the topic of whether the BOP has done enough to protect those who are incarcerated. Just because COVID-19 isn’t technically anyone’s fault, that doesn’t mean the BOP is exempt from safeguarding inmates from the deadly disease. Without such protection, inmates may be deemed victims of cruel and unusual punishments.

Justice for the Accused. Justice for the Accuser.

This inmate’s death begs the question: Is society doing everything it can for everyone going in and out of the justice system? Our nation is built on the pillars of justice and protected by the walls of the Constitution, so we must uphold this critical foundation by recognizing the underrepresented communities such as those in the criminal justice system.

We, as a society, need to do more. We need to do better.

If your loved one is currently incarcerated, or may soon face imprisonment, contact the Zickerman Law Office, PLLC as soon as possible to discuss your loved one’s case. Our criminal defense attorney can explain all your options and possible alternatives for your loved one’s current situation so they can best avoid contracting COVID-19 in prison. We are committed to fighting for justice and fair treatment on behalf of all prisoners, including your loved one. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Schedule your consultation with us online or by calling (928) 323-0910 today!