COVID cases, deaths double in prisons

Since Workers World last reported on COVID behind bars in June, case numbers and deaths have more than doubled. 

Current numbers show at least 125,730 cases of COVID-19 have been reported among prisoners in the U.S. The data suggest that these numbers are most likely underreported.

Texas prisons lead in numbers of cases with 21,562, followed by Florida with 15,983 and the Federal Bureau of Prisons with 14,215. California, Ohio, Arkansas and Michigan are close behind with 12,125, 6,112, 5,834 and 5,423 cases, respectively.

And a total of 1,066 prisoner deaths from the virus have been reported, with Texas leading with 155 deaths. The federal BOP follows with the death of 129 prisoners. Among prison staff, 27,632 cases and 77 deaths have been reported. (The Marshall Project, Sept. 15)

Prisons have functioned as concentration camps for the poor and oppressed since their inception, and COVID is only speeding this process up. 

Prison Policy Initiative gave examples of 14 large-scale mass releases of prisoners throughout the 20th century and has demonstrated that decarceration actually led to a decrease in crime. (Prison Policy Initiative, April 9)

Workers World Party joins many abolitionists in our call for mass releases now. Tear down the walls, and free them all for public health!

— Report by Mirinda Crissman

Philadelphia, March 30. WW Photo: Joe Piette

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