Editorial, 9/30: Programming, visits critical for inmates during COVID | Editorial

Home / Editorial, 9/30: Programming, visits critical for inmates during COVID | Editorial



Nebraska State Penitentiary

Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln




Almost everyone knows a family member, a friend or an acquaintance in an assisted living center or care facility who has been impacted by COVID-19 quarantining.

Residents have often been unable to receive visitors or take part in the programming or activities that enrich their lives. For some the mental and physical toll has been dramatic.

It’s easy to sympathize with them, and their struggles have received media attention.

A group affected every bit as much as many senior citizens – though easier to ignore and, perhaps, harder to sympathize with – is prison inmates.

Group living arrangements have been an easy place for COVID to spread – whether it’s senior housing or fraternities and sororities on campus. But perhaps even more dangerous is the spread possible among inmates in the custody of the corrections department.

Though slow at first, COVID testing in prisons has accelerated. And so have infections.

As a response, prison officials have taken the prudent steps to separate inmates, isolate them, curtail visitation and halt programming.

While these moves have potential to help control the spread of COVID among inmates and the community at large via visitors, they aren’t without their impacts.

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