Are Prisons Falling Short Of Keeping Inmates Safe Amid Pandemic? A Conversation.

May 4, 2020

COVID-19 spreads most easily when people are in close proximity. But for more than 26,000 inmates housed in Indiana's prisons, close proximity to other people is a part of life. State officials say they're working to prevent the virus from spreading in prisons, but those inside say it isn’t happening. 

 

Side Effects Public Media reporter Jake Harper joined Indiana Public Broadcasting's talk show All IN to talk about his investigation into Indiana prisons.  The show also spoke with Lauren-Brooke Eisen, director of Brennan Center’s Justice Program, a group working to end mass incarceration.  

READ MORE: Inmates, Relatives Say Indiana Prisons Lack COVID-19 Safeguards

"I'm getting lots of accounts from family members of people who are incarcerated currently and they paint a very different picture of what life is like inside," Harper says. "Life in prison makes it very hard for them to protect themselves, and their accounts contradict what the state says it's doing."  

On Thursday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases inside Indiana prisons jumped from 34 to 116. 

Eisen says, "When we talk about COVID-19 behind bars these are places with dangerously close quarters, filthy conditions where communicable diseases spread rapidly."