The COVID-19 pandemic has hit all areas of the globe hard. Unfortunately, some areas have been hit even harder than others. A recent report from The Associated Press and the Marshall Project found that 20% of incarcerated people have been infected with the coronavirus. Numerically speaking, this equates to more than 275,000 COVID-19 cases and 17,000 COVID-19 related deaths. Making matters worse, many incarcerated people and prison workers have said that many people are not getting the care they need.
“I still encounter prisons and jails where, when people get sick, not only are they not tested but they don’t receive care. So they get much sicker than need is,” Community Oriented Correctional Health Services Senior Fellow Homer Venters said.
States like Arkansas and Kansas have reported that nearly half of their state’s incarcerated population tested positive for the virus. Nationally, the mortality rate among incarcerated people is 45% higher than that of the general population. Despite rising mortality rates, certain lawmakers are opposed to distributing the vaccine to incarcerated people at this time.
“That won’t happen,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said.
“There’s no way that prisoners are going to get it before members of a vulnerable population…There’s no way it’s going to go to prisoners before it goes to people who haven’t committed any crime. That’s obvious.”