USA- Myjournalcourier.com writes that while COVID-19 has become a concern at prisons, such as Rikers Island in New York, it is not the only thing killing the incarcerated. Annually, about 128 prisoners are killed in the United States in homicides or accidents. The study which published the numbers analyzed the data from 2012 through 2016. Such deaths are not reported with information regarding who was responsible for the fatalities. Some of the deaths are the result of instances of prisoner against prisoner violence, while other disturbing events are caused by prison guards.
The numbers are also likely higher than those that are reported as many deaths are internally investigated.
The Miami-Herald investigated several incidents and learned some disturbing information. In one fatal event, guards gassed a prisoner as the man asked for help. The prisoner died. A woman who complained of sexual abuse is suspected of having been killed for reporting such events, and another inmate died after being scalded in a burning shower.
The report also suggested that excessive force is frequently used against prisoners. One prisoner who reportedly refused a command was then beaten to death at a Florida penitentiary.
The state of U.S. prisons has been referred to as a humanitarian crisis. While police brutality has become an issue receiving the national spotlight, others point out that similar state-sponsored violence is playing out in the nation’s prisons.
Data indicates that prisons are understaffed, underfunded, and overcrowded. COVID-19 outbreaks in these facilities have highlighted their states. On average, 42 prisoners are dying each week from the virus.
Little is done to improve the prison system. The public has little sympathy for the incarcerated, and politicians do not have much to gain by helping the nation’s prison population. The officers who abuse their power rarely face the consequences.
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