Real Toll of Covid Cases in Prisons May Be Higher Than Reported


Public health officials say overlooked virus deaths depend on nation’s state prisons, prisons and immigration detention centers carries special risks. Experts say it’s difficult to prepare prisons for future outbreaks without knowing the full price. currently known to the public death totals Those associated with incarceration are largely due to the facilities themselves.

“You can’t make good public policy if you don’t know what’s really going on on the field,” he said. The Covid Data Project Behind Bars At the University of California, Los Angeles, tracking coronavirus deaths in American prisons.

Prison and prison officials have defended their methodology for calculating coronavirus deaths of incarcerated people, saying they comply with all federal and local documentation requirements. Some have stated that their mission is to monitor deaths in “in custody” and have suggested that including the deaths of people who have recently – but are no longer – in their care is both complicated and impractical, and may even result in exaggerating the truth of the matter. number of virus cases associated with facilities.

“It’s unfair to expect prisons to somehow take ownership of what happened to people after they left our custody,” said Kathy Hieatt, spokesperson for the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office, who detained Mr. Melius. “We comply with the law and comprehensive standards set by the Virginia Department of Corrections, which includes investigating and reporting anyone who dies in custody. Neither requires reporting the deaths of former prisoners.” “It’s silly to think we can somehow track down these thousands of people and take responsibility for them,” he added.

Throughout the pandemic, prison systems have used different methods to publicly report deaths due to Covid-19. Nevada’s prisons They say inmates have reported their Covid-19 deaths to government health officials, but not publicly. Mississippi prison officials He said that no inmate had died from the coronavirus at its facilities, before revealing in January that nearly two dozen inmate deaths were due to Covid-19.

According to state prison system spokesman Jeremy Desel, a prison health committee in Texas re-examines every case where a coroner says Covid-19 was among the causes of death, sometimes invalidating previous findings. . Inmate Shelia Bradley, 53, was determined to have died of “bacterial and possibly fungal pneumonia, a complication of Covid-19” by a coroner, but the committee concluded that she died of “acute bacterial bronchopneumonia.” Without listing Covid-19.


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