The COVID-19 pandemic the world faced in 2020 led people to develop multiple preventative measures, such as social distancing, limited public gatherings, and self-protection. However, these tips are not readily applicable in such places as correctional settings. In the United States, these facilities are not built to provide inhabitants with isolating circumstances, newcomers arrive from a variety of locations, risking bringing the virus, and the access to self-hygiene tools like hand sanitizer might be limited there (Rubin, 2020). Moreover, the health conditions of incarcerated individuals are often worse than average, therefore they are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 (Rubin, 2020). As the measures created for coronavirus spread prevention are not effective enough in correctional settings, workarounds and specialized strategies that consider the facilities’ circumstances need to be established.
The purpose of this study was to explore the COVID-19 rapid spread factors for the correctional facilities in the United States and develop specific preventative solutions. In the United States, more than 2 million people are held in correctional settings, the circumstances of which are extremely susceptible to the rapid and spread of respiratory-borne infectious diseases such as COVID-19 (Montoya-Barthelemy et al., 2020). The preventative measures are challenging to be wholly performed as the facilities are overcrowded, and society does not pay attention to the inhabitants’ conditions. Montoya-Barthelemy et al. (2020) claim that “the correctional workers and prisoners constitute millions of family members and neighbors, and therefore, their safety is inherently a matter of public health” (p. 890). The solutions must combine the experience of COVID-19 prevention in specific environments with the updated policies regarding the treatment of the individuals involved.
Montoya-Barthelemy, A., Lee, C. D., Cundiff, D., & Smith, E. (2020). COVID-19 and the correctional environment: the American prison as a focal point for public health. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 58(6), 888–891. Web.
Rubin, R. (2020). The challenge of preventing COVID-19 spread in correctional facilities. Jama, 323(18), 1760-1761. Web.