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The Impact Of The Pandemic In Prisons

An external view of the Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey.
An external view of the Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey.

The last year has shown us just how stark health care disparities can be when a crisis hits. The pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income communities and communities of color across the country.

One population that isn’t discussed as often in examinations of impact is the people inside U.S. correctional facilities. America’s inmates and corrections employees have been vastly impacted by COVID-19. Over the course of the pandemic, some 492,000 cases among inmates and staff have been confirmed.

That figure is likely an undercount, according to experts. Inmates and employees are especially vulnerable due to being heavily grouped together and oftentimes lacking access to adequate healthcare. That lack of access may hinder efforts to vaccinate inmates.

How has the pandemic changed life inside prisons? And what support will inmates and corrections staff need going forward?

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