17 States and DC Have Stopped Reporting Active COVID Cases Behind Bars

On July 5, Rita Deanda tested positive for COVID while incarcerated at the California Institution for Women. She was immediately ordered to pack her belongings and moved to a quarantine unit, which she referred to as “COVID jail.” That was where she spent the next 11 days. The 57-year-old doesn’t know how she got COVID; she was taking precautions, such as wearing her mask and doing her best to socially distance from others. On the day she was tested, Deanda recalled that she felt great. But the week before, she told Truthout, “I had a migraine from hell and thought…

Hundreds of Thousands of Incarcerated People Are in Danger Amid Scorching Heat

This summer is set to be among the top 10 hottest on record with heat waves melting roads across Europe, causing thousand-acre fires in Texas and California, scorching people across the globe. Across the country, as temperatures soar, people behind bars describe feeling as if they are melting or being baked alive in units that frequently lack air conditioning or cooling mechanisms. Temperatures in parts of Texas have soared to over 100 degrees every day for the past week — with no relief in sight. The state has the tenth-highest incarceration rate in the nation, with 840 of every 100,000…

“Mental Health Units” in Prison Are Solitary by Another Name, Activists Say

Christian Hill has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder. In the New York State prison system, this classifies him as having a serious mental illness and confers a “1-S” designation upon him. Under the newly implemented HALT Solitary Confinement Act, people with this mental health designation cannot be punished by being placed in the Special Housing Unit, or SHU, where they would spend at least 17 days alone in their cells. Instead, Hill and others with this designation must be sent to a Residential Mental Health Unit, a prison unit for incarcerated people with serious mental…

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