Are Houston’s Jail Populations at Risk for Coronavirus?

The recent downtrend in the spread of corona virus in China was disrupted by an outbreak of the virus in Hubei prisons, wherein over 500 more people have been infected. This recent news has illuminated the poor conditions of China’s prisons, from the overcrowded and unclean conditions to the unprofessional attitude of staff members. It was a neglectful prison system that contributed to this devastating outbreak, which raises the question: are America’s jailhouses and prisons any better?

The spread of infectious diseases is often much quicker in jails and prisons than in the general population. An example of this is tuberculosis, which pervades prison populations 81 times faster than the general population. There are many contributing factors to this phenomenon, and in the wake of the corona virus, this information is especially startling. Here’s what you need to know about what worsens the spread of infectious diseases in jails and prisons.

Compromised Immune Systems

Many people who find their way into jails and prisons are drug users or addicts experiencing a harsh detox period at the beginning of their stay. Withdrawal from the most used street drugs can seriously damage your body, including your immune system. The people in these situations are weakened by withdrawal, which makes them more susceptible to becoming infected with anything making its way around the jail.            

Inmates who can get drugs are also a part of the problem, as the sharing of needles in jails and prisons contributes to the spread of HIV, which happens 50 times quicker in jails than in the general populations. HIV compromises the immune system when it isn’t properly treated and leads to a higher rate of infection and death from diseases like the corona virus.

Overcrowding and Poor Sanitation

Jails and prisons are built and operated with the safety of the public as the number one priority; the safety of the inmates is typically an afterthought. So although there are loose regulations and guidelines for sanitation and maximum capacity, these precautions are nowhere near enough to protect inmates. Jails are typically overcrowded with no consideration for those in holding, and cells aren’t given much more than a wipe-down after an inmate leaves — and even that step might be forgotten if the cell is immediately filled again.

These conditions make jails very efficient for spreading infectious diseases quickly. The shared air in overcrowded cells, the unsanitary surfaces surrounding the inmates, and the potential for exchanged body fluids like sweat means infectious diseases can hop from one person to another in a matter of hours.

Subpar Medical Care

Inmates in prisons and jails rarely get the medical care they need. Guards may completely disregard the medical complaints of inmates, and if the sick person is lucky enough to see a medical professional, they’re likely to just be prescribed over-the-counter pain medicine or a round of generic antibiotics and sent away. This lack of professional medical care provided to inmates only makes jails and prisons a worse place to be in the event of a corona virus outbreak.

Let ABC Bail Bonds in Houston Get You Out of Jail Fast

Jail is one of the worst places to reside during the spread of deadly diseases. The poor conditions are dangerous to inmates awaiting their trials. If you or a loved one has gotten locked up in Harris County, remember to call ABC Bail Bonds to get you out before your situation gets worse – or you get sick. Our trained team of professionals will bail you out of any Houston-area jail, no questions asked. Call us any time of day or night!

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