How America’s jails are helping spread covid-19

America’s jail population is ticking back up again even as covid-19 cases surge

8/12/2020 6:09:00 AM

America’s jail population is ticking back up again even as covid-19 cases surge

Cook County jail in Chicago may have been responsible for thousands of the city’s cases

, prisoners are five times more likely to contract the disease than the general public, and three times more likely to die from it. The confined nature of America’s prisons has enabled the spread of disease within their walls, and the jail system may have seeded more cases into the wider community.

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What makes jails so dangerous is their high turnover. Whereas prison inmates have been tried and convicted of crimes and are serving their sentences, often for years or decades, jails are meant for short-term detention. Few detainees have even been convicted of anything. According to the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI), a research group, some 600,000 Americans are imprisoned each year, compared with 4.9m who are put in jail. Many people who are arrested and jailed pay bail and are quickly released; those who cannot afford to pay are kept locked up until their trial. Repeat visits to jail are common. PPI reckons that one in four people who go to jail will be arrested again within the same year. All this amounts to a constant flow of people into and out of an enclosed space, enabling the spread of disease.

Consider Cook County jail in Chicago, the biggest single-site jail in America. The facility, which holds some 6,100 people, reported its first case of covid-19 on March 22nd. Cases grew swiftly after that, turning the jail into the country’s largest-known source of infections at the time.

Arecent studytraces the effect of these infections on the region. Researchers Eric Reinhart and Daniel Chen combined data from Cook County jail, the US census and the Illinois Department of Health to analyse the relationship between the release of detainees and infections in the zip-codes to which they returned after release. The authors then controlled for relevant variables—such as the share of the population that is black, the poverty rate, public-transport use and population density—all of which have been associated with higher rates of covid-19. They found that for every detainee released to a Chicago zip code, an additional 1.5 people there contracted the virus (see chart). With 1,252 people released in March, the study suggests that cycling people through the jail during the outbreak was associated with an additional 1,938 infections in the city. As of April 19th, the end-date for the study, this was equivalent to 15.9% of recorded cases in Chicago.

Read more: The Economist »

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Well the invisible hand needs more free labor right now. If we didn't put more people in jail to make competitively priced PPE for a tax payer funded bed and three square nutriloafs where would our front line workers be? Hundreds of people came to the downtown Chicago area this past weekend. They brought cars and trucks to fill and proceeded to break in and loot every business in the area. Total destruction. It also happened a few weeks back; A slap in the hand by the State's Attorney. Solution?

Aux USA : quelque 600 000 Américains sont emprisonnés chaque année, contre 4,9 millions de personnes incarcérées. Congrats Rector agaviriau Muy preocupante lo que podríamos encontrar sobre esto en nuestro país. In the DC area alone, we've had two murders in the past few weeks committed by violent criminals who were let out of jail because of covid. Here's one of them - an accused rapist who used the opportunity to murder the woman who accused him ...

1!!! Jesus Christ whatta country Just give them a mask...right? The prison-industrial complex is an integral aspect of the US police state, which specializes in repressing minorities.

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