BY Lily Manzi
When Covid-19 hit not everyone was thinking about how it would affect the prison system. With many changes in the system we wonder how this has and will affect the prison. Indiana County District Attorney Bob Manzi explained the many negative effects on the system changing the experience during and after prison.
Governor Tom Wolf’s social distancing order have affected the population in the prison. Manzi commented, “It has stopped valuable programs for the prisoner in jail.” The prisoners are not allowed to have any loved ones visit. Prisoners do have the choice to get a vaccine, and the vaccine is available to them. The inmates and employees of the jail are required to wear masks.
If an inmate tests positive for Covid, he or she would be quarantined and provided with the necessary medical treatment. Any prisoners or employees who came in contact with them would be quarantined as well. Guards or employees are not permitted back at work until they are Covid-free. There are fewer prisoners in the jail, so officials are able to and are taking the precautions that are needed. There are enough employees that can assure that all the precautions are taken.
More prisoners are being put on house arrest instead of going into jail. This is keeping down the population in prison. Court is also changing in that criminal justice workers will use Zoom or other programs to have the inmate join in in court. This is allowing them to not have to move the prisoners to and from the court house.
It is affecting the in jail system as much as it is affecting the halfway houses and many other important programs. The halfway houses are limiting contact with others in order to provide a safe living facility for the inmates, but it is not giving the full normal reentry into society. All of these precautions are making it so that there are not huge outbreaks of Covid in prison. At the beginning, though, people were not prepared so huge outbreaks happened. This meant that many jails had to not allow any more prisoners until they could get the covid cases down. The large outbreaks are less often now. These and many other precautions are being taken to protect everyone in the community and jail system.
More information about Covid and the jail systemare available at he links below.