Authorities in several U.S. states have begun releasing convicts for minor crimes out of fear of spreading coronavirus in overcrowded prisons, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports. According to the publication, in particular, elderly people and prisoners with poor health conditions are released.
The state authorities of California, New York, Ohio and Texas have also decided to prohibit the admission of visitors to the prisons, restrict the movement of prisoners in the territory of correctional facilities.
According to WSJ, there have already been cases when the positive coronavirus test was passed by guards in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York and Washington. Thus, in the capital, the person responsible for transporting convicts to prison got sick, and the prisoners themselves could get infected from it. In New York with suspicion of coronavirus were further isolated 30 prisoners.
According to experts, more than 164 thousand people over 55 years of age are kept in American prisons. There will be no real opportunity to help them in case of further incarceration if they are infected by staff. There are no additional places to isolate those who are ill.
The authorities have assured that we are not talking about 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. The country is third in the world after China and Italy. Over 400 people have died. New York and Washington states have the highest number of victims.