WBTV: N.C. closes prisons, moves inmates as COVID cases spike

WBTV: N.C. closes prisons, moves inmates as COVID cases spike. “Three state prisons have been closed, with hundreds of inmates being transferred to other facilities across the state, as COVID-19 continues to spike within the prison system. Inmates at Randolph Correctional Center in Randolph County, the minimum custody unit at Southern Correctional Institution in Montgomery County and the minimum custody unit at Piedmont Correctional Institution in Rowan County have been moved.”

AP: Federal prisons to prioritize staff to receive virus vaccine

AP: Federal prisons to prioritize staff to receive virus vaccine. “The federal prison system will be among the first government agencies to receive the coronavirus vaccine, though initial allotments of the vaccine will be given to staff and not to inmates, even though sickened prisoners vastly outnumber sickened staff, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.”

New York Times: America Is Letting the Coronavirus Rage Through Prisons

New York Times: America Is Letting the Coronavirus Rage Through Prisons. “Like the nation overall, U.S. correctional facilities are experiencing record spikes in coronavirus infections this fall. During the week of Nov. 17, there were 13,657 new coronavirus infections reported across the state and federal prison systems, according to the Marshall Project, which has been tracking these numbers since March. The previous week saw 13,676 new cases. These are by far the highest weekly tolls reported since the pandemic began. With winter descending, the situation threatens to grow bleaker still.”

Phys .org: Study shows more centralized, uniform COVID-19 response needed in prisons and jails

Phys .org: Study shows more centralized, uniform COVID-19 response needed in prisons and jails. “A more centralized, uniform response to combating the COVID-19 pandemic in American prisons and jails is required to curb the spread across an especially vulnerable incarcerated population, according to new Rutgers University–Camden research.”

The Nevada Independent: More than 80 percent of inmates at Carson City prison test positive for COVID-19

The Nevada Independent: More than 80 percent of inmates at Carson City prison test positive for COVID-19. “Prison officials say 81 percent of the inmates at Warm Springs Correctional Center in Carson City have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the worst outbreak to date in the state’s prison system. The Nevada Department of Corrections announced on Friday that 424 inmates have tested positive out of the 525 inmates in the facility. Twenty-five staff members have also tested positive.”

Washington Post: Prisons and jails have become a ‘public health threat’ during the pandemic, advocates say

Washington Post: Prisons and jails have become a ‘public health threat’ during the pandemic, advocates say. “Nobody knows how the ­novel coronavirus sneaked through the barbed wire and imposing gates of Ohio’s Pickaway Correctional Institution, where visitors and volunteers were barred from entering in March. But the first case showed up April 4. Within a week, 23 inmates and 17 staff members were found to be infected. One inmate, Charles Viney Jr., a 66-year-old with a collapsed lung, died hours after testing positive. Within a month, more than three-quarters of Pickaway’s roughly 2,000 inmates were confirmed positive. By the end of May, 35 were dead.”

Vox: 80 percent of those who died of Covid-19 in Texas county jails were never convicted of a crime

Vox: 80 percent of those who died of Covid-19 in Texas county jails were never convicted of a crime. “Over 230 people have died from Covid-19 in Texas’s correctional facilities — and in county jails, nearly 80 percent of them were in pretrial detention and hadn’t even been convicted of a crime, according to a new report. A team of researchers at the University of Austin at Texas reviewed data from the the Texas Justice Initiative which collects information from multiple sources including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). They found that at least 231 people have died of Covid-19 in the state’s correctional facilities between March and October.”

Daily Bruin: CDC partners with UCLA program that collects data on COVID-19 in prisons, jails

Daily Bruin: CDC partners with UCLA program that collects data on COVID-19 in prisons, jails. “The UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, led by law professor Sharon Dolovich, signed a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October to serve as the primary data source for tracking COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities. The project organizes data collected by volunteers in jails, prisons and detention centers as part of an effort to become a national resource for advocates for people incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Hyperallergic: Mural Arts and the African American Museum in Philadelphia Present Rendering Justice

Hyperallergic: Mural Arts and the African American Museum in Philadelphia Present Rendering Justice. “Rendering Justice features a cohort of nine artists from across the country whose work highlights a broad range of issues bound in mass incarceration, with a particular focus on Philadelphia. While the number of people jailed and imprisoned by Philadelphia’s criminal justice system has declined dramatically in recent years, the city remains one of the most heavily incarcerated in the nation.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Family members protest after 278 prisoners test positive for coronavirus at Utah prison

Salt Lake Tribune: Family members protest after 278 prisoners test positive for coronavirus at Utah prison. “Keenan Thompson has earned an associate degree in theology and become an ordained minister, while an inmate at the Utah State Prison. ‘He’s done what he needed to do to be rehabilitated,’ his wife, Beth Thompson, said. But Keenan also has an autoimmune disease and contracting the coronavirus — which has spread to hundreds of inmates at the Draper facility in recent weeks — could be a death sentence.”

WCTV: Federal Correctional Institution Tallahassee sees spike in active inmate COVID-19 infections

WCTV: Federal Correctional Institution Tallahassee sees spike in active inmate COVID-19 infections. “No federal prison in the South has more active coronavirus cases than the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, according to the Bureau of Prison’s online database of infections. According to that tracker, 91 inmates and 16 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Those are considered ‘active’ cases. A BOP spokesperson said cumulative totals weren’t immediately available to the public.”

The Marshall Project: Thousands of Sick Federal Prisoners Sought Compassionate Release. 98 Percent Were Denied.

The Marshall Project: Thousands of Sick Federal Prisoners Sought Compassionate Release. 98 Percent Were Denied.. “Of the 10,940 federal prisoners who applied for compassionate release from March through May, wardens approved 156. Some wardens, including those at Seagoville in Texas and Oakdale in Louisiana, did not respond to any request in that time frame, according to the data, while others responded only to deny them all.”

BuzzFeed News: Federal Officials Now Say That Transferring Detainees Between Jails Holding Immigrants Contributed To Coronavirus Outbreaks

BuzzFeed News: Federal Officials Now Say That Transferring Detainees Between Jails Holding Immigrants Contributed To Coronavirus Outbreaks. “Department of Homeland Security officials have acknowledged that transfers of detainees between facilities holding immigrants for ICE had ‘contributed to outbreaks’ of COVID-19 and that poor information sharing made tracking and preventing the spread of the virus more difficult, according to a draft report obtained by BuzzFeed News. The document also acknowledges that the inability for adequate social distancing within the ICE detention centers had contributed to the spread of the disease.”

Reason: Federal Prosecutors Argue COVID-19 Is Just ‘One More Way to Perish in Prison’

Reason: Federal Prosecutors Argue COVID-19 Is Just ‘One More Way to Perish in Prison’. “Federal prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to argue this week that an 80-year-old inmate serving a life sentence for marijuana offenses shouldn’t be released because COVID-19 is just “one more way to perish in prison.” U.S. District Judge Donald Graham disagreed and ordered Atilano Dominguez, who was 27 years into his life sentence, to be released from federal prison on Tuesday, over the objections of the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).”

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Ten inmates at Deerfield Correctional Center now dead from COVID-19

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Ten inmates at Deerfield Correctional Center now dead from COVID-19. “Ten inmates with COVID-19 at the Deerfield Correctional Center have now died. The rural Southside prison holds many elderly and otherwise vulnerable inmates. With 925 inmates, Deerfield has an assisted living unit and infirmary and holds many of the state prison system’s elderly and medically impaired offenders. Many of the inmates at Deerfield sleep in dormitories, making social distancing difficult if not impossible.”