#CagingCOVID: Stopping the Spread Behind Bars

While the world is trying to flatten the curve of a pandemic without end in sight, U.S. prisons and detention centers continue to be COVID-19 hotspots, warehousing millions and failing to make the substantial populations reductions needed to create conditions of social distance.

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They Said They'd Release My Brother, But They Haven't

Jan 28, 2021 | by Laura Bratton

Back in March, officials at a prison in Bastrop, Texas told a woman we’ll call Mindy that her brother would be released for home confinement due to his underlying conditions – high blood pressure and diabetes. But as late as December, Mindy’s brother had yet to be released. And COVID-19 continued raging through the facility.

Submission By, Mindy

Amended Transcription of Audio:

So my brother apparently said that he had been in quarantine like two or three times already. It’s running rampant.

Back in March, my brother was told that he would qualify for home confinement due to the law that Trump had passed because of his underlying conditions, which – he has high blood pressure, he’s diabetic, he’s overweight. All these things that he did not have before he went to prison, and now he does.

All the paperwork had been approved. Paper work had been sent to Washington. Here we are December now, and we’re still waiting for him to be released. And I called, I called, and I called and people either wouldn’t answer the phone or the person’s not there. And the people that were working on the paperwork, they were only letting go out the white, Anglo, healthy people, and not the people that should be going home.

You get the man’s hopes up. You know, he’s happy to be coming home, you know, to want to start over. Do things right and everything. And he’s just, you know, he’s just disappointed. To have you tell me that I qualify for home confinement and everything’s been approved but yet you still continue to hold me. And the virus is continuing to spread around the prison. It continues to spread.

Apparently, they’re bringing in people sometimes from other camps that knowingly have the virus. They claim they’re supposedly getting people tested, but if you’re transferring somebody from somewhere, you know, you should test them before you come over here. And you practically have to be dying on the floor for them to finally either get you to a hospital because then it gets out to the world or to the newspaper and the news media and they don’t want you to find out.

You know, I want him to come home. His family wants him to come back. And yet they continue to hold him, because what I found out, there are a lot of prisons privately owned. They’re making a lot of money. And they’re keeping these prisoners; they don’t want to let them go.

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