Authorities in several US States have begun releasing those convicted of minor crimes for fear of spreading the coronavirus in overcrowded prisons, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports. According to the publication, in particular, elderly people and prisoners with poor health are released.
The authorities of the States of California, New York, Ohio and Texas also decided to prohibit the admission of visitors to prisons and restrict the movement of prisoners on the territory of correctional institutions.
The publication notes that there are 2.2 million prisoners in the United States. There are serious concerns that in this situation, not only they can be infected, but also numerous guards.
According to the WSJ, there have already been cases where security guards in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York and Washington have tested positive for the coronavirus. Therefore, in the capital, the person responsible for transporting convicts to prison fell ill, and the prisoners themselves could be infected from it. In New York, 30 additional prisoners were isolated with suspected coronavirus.
According to experts, more than 164 thousand people aged over 55 are held in American prisons. The staff will not have a real opportunity to help them if they continue to stay in detention facilities in case of infection. There are no additional places for isolation of patients.
The authorities assured that there was no question of a large-scale release. Only those who have not committed serious crimes will be released.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are 35,224 infected people in the United States. In terms of the number of cases, the country ranks third in the world, after China and Italy. More than 400 people died. The most victims were recorded in the States of New York and Washington.