As if the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, have we as a community given any real thought to the effects of the pandemic on those who are in custody? A Greensboro attorney at our law firm is looking into the issues of transmission of the virus and the effect it has on our prison population nationwide.
Imagine being stuck behind bars and you have a constant shuffling of staff from outside the prison. Our lawyers in Greensboro have heard comments from, “it isn’t right,” to “they committed the crime so they have to face the consequences.” The dilemma is that most states focus on structured sentencing, meaning that crimes have allotted punishments where you can’t get more or less than a certain sentence. The dilemma with this is that these sentencing charts do not take into account that a pandemic is going on. The 8th amendment provides protection against cruel and unusual punishment, and what could be more cruel and unusual than facing the prospect of dying in prison for a minor felony charge?
Our attorney in Greensboro has looked into the issue and since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic at least 275,000 prisoners have been infected with the coronavirus and had positive tests. Of those positive tests, 1,700 have died. The dilemma is that once it gets into the prison, there’s no telling where it may go next. Prisoners are feeling like their couple of month sentence may very well be a death sentence. With limited access to healthcare it’s extremely problematic for all of those who come back with a positive diagnosis for COVID-19.
Another cause for concern, is prisons have a significantly higher rate of infection than their surrounding community. Dryer air in winter has caused what appears to be an increase in transmission during flu season. States are working through these nuances and beginning to release prisoners early with the hope of reducing prison populations.
Our family law attorney has been advised that the reports coming back from local families is they’re getting a call when the prisoner tests positive and then another call with the outcome. Sadly, a lot of families have received terrible reports, that their family member has died while in custody due to the coronavirus.
Our top rated lawyers in Greensboro, NC will continue to keep you informed as to the latest happenings with these situations. Stay safe!