Route Fifty: Some States Are Cloaking Prison Covid Data

Route Fifty: Some States Are Cloaking Prison Covid Data. “Texas is not the only state that has failed to consistently report COVID-19 cases and deaths in state prisons, local jails and juvenile detention facilities. While most corrections systems have never provided a great deal of information about the spread of the virus in their institutions, lately it has gotten worse, researchers say. At least a half-dozen states, including Florida and Georgia as well as Texas, provide even less information than they once did, according to researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles’ COVID Behind Bars Data Project, which collects and analyzes data on the pandemic in corrections settings.”

New York tells prison inmates: Get vaccinated, get a Big Mac (Associated Press)

Associated Press: New York tells prison inmates: Get vaccinated, get a Big Mac. “New York’s state prisons are encouraging inmates to get the COVID-19 vaccine — and they’re offering up a side of fries with that. A recent memorandum sent by the state’s acting corrections commissioner lists pizza and treats from McDonald’s among the latest vaccine incentives being offered to inmates.”

Introducing American Prison Newspapers, 1800-2020: Voices from the Inside (JSTOR Daily)

JSTOR Daily: Introducing American Prison Newspapers, 1800-2020: Voices from the Inside. “Since 1800, people incarcerated in America have penned articles and organized layouts for hundreds of in-house publications of all sizes, shapes, and lifespans. The American Prison Newspapers archive reflects this diversity. The more than 900 items (and counting) available for open access use include five issues of J-A-B-S, the oldest publication in the archive to date.”

NBC News: Prison suicides have been rising for years. Experts fear the pandemic has made it worse.

NBC News: Prison suicides have been rising for years. Experts fear the pandemic has made it worse.. “Nationwide, prison suicides have been increasing for years, and some experts worry worsening conditions and staff shortages brought on by the pandemic may accelerate that rise. Delays in data reporting, though, make it difficult to tell: The most recent national figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed an 85 perccent increase in state and federal prison suicides from 2001 to 2018, but 2020 data won’t come out until next year.”

Newswise: Crowding in Prisons Increases Inmates’ Risk for COVID-19 Infections

Newswise: Crowding in Prisons Increases Inmates’ Risk for COVID-19 Infections. “Crowding in prisons dramatically increases the risk for COVID-19 infections among inmates, according to a new study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The authors of the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, argue that policy changes are necessary to protect the vulnerable population of incarcerated men and women.”

Writing in the margins: The story behind Kingston’s Prison for Women magazine (TVO)

TVO: Writing in the margins: The story behind Kingston’s Prison for Women magazine. “When inmates at Kingston Penitentiary decided in 1950 to start the KP Telescope, their very own newspaper, they already had a printing press and resources to start producing it. But when inmates across the street at the Prison for Women created their own publication, called Tightwire, in 1970, it was a different story…. For the past 10 years, Melissa Munn, a professor at Okanagan College, in British Columbia, has been building a digital collection of penal-press issues at Penal Press — A History of Prison Within. It now features more than 1,500 PDF copies of issues from institutions across North America, including 31 issues of Tightwire.”

The Compendium of U.S. jails: creating and conducting research with the first comprehensive contact database of U.S. jails (Health & Justice Journal)

Health & Justice Journal: The Compendium of U.S. jails: creating and conducting research with the first comprehensive contact database of U.S. jails. “Millions of people pass through U.S. jails annually. Conducting research about these public institutions is critical to understanding on-the-ground policies and practices, especially health care services, affecting millions of people. However, there is no existing database of the number, location, or contact information of jails. We created the National Jails Compendium to address this gap. In this paper, we detail our comprehensive methodology for identifying jail locations and contact information. We then describe the first research project to use the Compendium, a survey assessing jails’ treatment practices for incarcerated pregnant people with opioid use disorder.”

WUNC: North Carolina, DOJ Double Down On Secrecy Of Deaths In-Custody Data

WUNC: North Carolina, DOJ Double Down On Secrecy Of Deaths In-Custody Data. “As communities across the nation continue to grapple with high-profile police killings, North Carolina officials have again refused to release information on the deaths of people who died in custody, citing guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice. The congressman who wrote the law requiring states to collect that information says both North Carolina and the U.S. DOJ are getting it wrong.”

New York Times: I’m Incarcerated. This Is My Covid Lockdown Story.

New York Times Magazine: I’m Incarcerated. This Is My Covid Lockdown Story.. “I was in my prison cell in upstate New York one afternoon in mid-​January when someone called out, “Suits walking!” The Sullivan Correctional Facility superintendent, a gray-haired man in his 60s named William Keyser, had come into the cell block with a mask strapped to his face, accompanied by a pair of deputies. Now he stood in the belly of the block in his suit and tie, pulled down his mask and announced that he was putting us under quarantine.”

AP: US prison guards refusing vaccine despite COVID-19 outbreaks

AP: US prison guards refusing vaccine despite COVID-19 outbreaks. “As states have begun COVID-19 inoculations at prisons across the country, corrections employees are refusing vaccines at alarming rates, causing some public health experts to worry about the prospect of controlling the pandemic both inside and outside. Infection rates in prisons are more than three times as high as in the general public. Prison staff helped accelerate outbreaks by refusing to wear masks, downplaying people’s symptoms, and haphazardly enforcing social distancing and hygiene protocols in confined, poorly ventilated spaces ripe for viral spread.”

Miami Herald: Florida inmates haven’t gotten COVID-19 vaccines. DeSantis won’t provide timeline.

Miami Herald: Florida inmates haven’t gotten COVID-19 vaccines. DeSantis won’t provide timeline.. “Three months into Florida’s vaccination efforts, Gov. Ron DeSantis has yet to make vaccines available to state prisons, even as corrections officials have requested doses and identified thousands of elderly inmates who meet the state’s eligibility requirements.”

Associated Press: Tennessee panel deemed vaccinating inmates a ‘PR nightmare’

Associated Press: Tennessee panel deemed vaccinating inmates a ‘PR nightmare’. “The Tennessee debate reflects an issue facing states nationwide as they roll out life-saving vaccines: whether to prioritize a population seen by many at best as an afterthought, separate from the public, and at worst as non-deserving. The resistance comes even though medical experts have argued since the beginning of the pandemic that prisoners were at extremely high risk for infection given that they live in extremely close contact with each other and have little ability to social distance.”