2020-03-10 16:34:42

Prisons Worldwide Face Coronavirus Crisis: Overcrowding, Lack of Sanitation & Labor at Slave Wage

As Italy went on lockdown, nearly 30 prisons across the country broke into riots Sunday and Monday after visitation rights were suspended in response to the outbreak.

In a prison in southern Italy, a riot left at least six incarcerated people dead and caused 50 people to escape. Prisoners have reportedly lit fires, charged guards and even escaped at multiple facilities.

This comes as the United Nations confirmed that coronavirus had reached Iran’s prisons, as the number of cases there continues to soar.

Iran has temporarily freed some 70,000 prisoners in response to the coronavirus. And concerns are growing about the health of the at least 1 million Uyghur Muslims jailed in prison camps in western China, where at least 13 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the region of Xinjiang.

In the U.S., New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing backlash after announcing Monday that New York state would respond to the growing coronavirus outbreak here by producing its own hand sanitizer made by prisoners for less than a dollar an hour.

Not only will prisoners be making the 75% alcohol hand sanitizer for an average of 65 cents an hour, it’s unclear if they will even be allowed to use it to protect themselves from infection.

Items with alcohol are typically considered prisoner contraband. From Houston, we speak to Keri Blakinger, a reporter with The Marshall Project.

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