Pandemic Behind Bars

14 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2021

See all articles by Sage Kim

Sage Kim

University of Illinois at Chicago

Robin Fretwell Wilson

University of Illinois College of Law

Tim Jostrand

University of Illinois at Chicago

Ali Mirza

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA)

Date Written: July 6, 2020

Abstract

This policy spotlight documents the growing concern for the health of the incarcerated population and explores the implication of unabated COVID-19 outbreaks in Illinois prisons for the health of Illinois communities where correctional facilities are located. Jails and prisons are not isolated from the community. Preventing COVID-19 transmission in correctional settings requires steps to ensure that COVID-19 outbreaks within prisons do not spill over to the surrounding communities, and that community infection does not enter into correctional facilities. Correctional facilities not only in Illinois but throughout the U.S. have been affected by localized outbreaks but also experienced poor access to personal protective equipment and testing. Furthermore, because of unsanitary, crowding, and congregate living conditions, social distance, a key public health mitigation measure, has been a challenge. Correctional employees and officers are not immune to these risks. The high infection rates in correctional settings have been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. The reports from prisons and jails around the country underline the vulnerability of the incarcerated population and correctional staff to COVID-19. IDOC will need to implement preventive measures to protect the health of inmates and staff, as well as the community. Meeting the public health and mental health needs of inmates is not only just, it is a smart public health policy.

Note: Funding: No funding was provided apart from IGPA.

Declaration of Interests: No conflict of interests.

Keywords: correctional, policy, pandemic, Illinois, government, covid, impact

Suggested Citation

Kim, Sage and Wilson, Robin Fretwell and Jostrand, Tim and Mirza, Ali, Pandemic Behind Bars (July 6, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3888415 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3888415

Sage Kim (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Robin Fretwell Wilson

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217.244.7582 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.robinfretwellwilson.org

Tim Jostrand

University of Illinois at Chicago

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Ali Mirza

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) ( email )

Urbana, IL 61801
United States

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