CNET: As jails and prisons face coronavirus, a new app tries to bridge the mail gap

CNET: As jails and prisons face coronavirus, a new app tries to bridge the mail gap. “More than half of all Americans have had a family member in jail or prison, according to a 2018 survey. Yet the cost of making phone calls with prisoners has skyrocketed, leaving families to bear the burden of hefty fees to get critical information past prison walls. Even sending mail to a prisoner can become expensive to families in need. Amid the urgent COVID-19 crisis in jails and prisons, a nonprofit tech company is stepping up to help bridge the communications gap between those behind bars and their loved ones outside.”

News & Observer: Inmates file coronavirus lawsuit seeking more releases from Butner federal prison in NC

News & Observer: Inmates file coronavirus lawsuit seeking more releases from Butner federal prison in NC. “Attorneys for 11 inmates filed the suit in the U.S. Eastern District Court of North Carolina and have asked a judge to name an expert to identify all vulnerable inmates who then can be released within 24 hours. The inmates are being represented by the Charlotte law firm Winston & Strawn, the ACLU and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.”

ProPublica: Bill Barr Promised to Release Prisoners Threatened by Coronavirus — Even as the Feds Secretly Made It Harder for Them to Get Out

ProPublica: Bill Barr Promised to Release Prisoners Threatened by Coronavirus — Even as the Feds Secretly Made It Harder for Them to Get Out. “Even as the Justice Department announced that federal prisons would release vulnerable, nonviolent inmates to home confinement to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the agency was quietly adopting a policy that makes it harder for inmates to qualify for release, not easier. The result has been that more than 98% of inmates remain in federal custody, while a handful of celebrity inmates, like former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, have been released to home detention.”

Washington Post: Prince George’s jail officials acted with ‘reckless disregard’ to coronavirus outbreak, judge finds

Washington Post: Prince George’s jail officials acted with ‘reckless disregard’ to coronavirus outbreak, judge finds . “Finding that jail officials in Prince George’s County acted with ‘reckless disregard’ of a coronavirus outbreak among inmates last month, a federal judge on Thursday ordered the county’s jail to submit plans to ensure proper testing, improve health care and properly protect medically vulnerable inmates. ‘Sick calls ignored, temperature checks inaccurate, and nurses telling symptomatic detainees, “If you can walk, then you are OK,” ’ U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis wrote in a 33-page opinion, ticking off what she described as troubling procedures in the jail at the height of the outbreak.”

Charlotte Observer: Nurse’s COVID-19 death raises questions about delayed testing at NC prison

Charlotte Observer: Nurse’s COVID-19 death raises questions about delayed testing at NC prison. “Barbara Anne Stewart died at a hospital in Danville, Va., on May 7 at age 57. Five weeks earlier, she had come home from her job as a nurse at Caswell Correctional Center, across the state line, complaining she didn’t feel well.”

Houston Chronicle: Locked inside

Houston Chronicle: Locked inside. “Raul Razo and three buddies were knocking out their daily situps and pushups in their 72-man tank at the Harris County Jail in late March when they were overcome. All four were gasping for air. ‘Uno por uno. Uno por uno,’ Razo told his wife in a phone call punctuated by dry coughs. One by one they’d abandoned their workout and slogged off to their bunks. The next day they lay within arms’ reach of one another in their tight fortress of metal-frame beds, shaking with chills and passing up meals. They had crushing headaches, achy bones, sore muscles, chest pain, nausea, diarrhea and unrelenting fever.”

Ohio Capital Journal: Ohio prisons chief says inmates getting ‘excellent’ health care; 63 dead, thousands infected

Ohio Capital Journal: Ohio prisons chief says inmates getting ‘excellent’ health care; 63 dead, thousands infected. “Ohio has decreased its prison population by less than 4% while some institutions have been virtually overrun by COVID-19. Four prison workers and 63 inmates have died since prison officials first detected the new coronavirus March 29. More than 4,500 inmates have tested positive, though officials believe this to be a massive undercount since they abandoned a mass-testing strategy.”