As the coronavirus has spread across the globe in recent months, prisons and jails have emerged as critical hotspots for outbreaks. According to the Marshall Project, more than 14,000 prisoners have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States alone, over 200 of whom have died from the disease.
For a look at the challenges prisons and jails are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the strategies they’re adopting to overcome them, WPR recently spoke by phone with Marc Stern, an assistant professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health and a consultant in correctional health care. He previously served as assistant secretary for health services in the Washington State Department of Corrections. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
World Politics Review: If I’m a prison warden or an official in a department of corrections during a pandemic, what are some steps I’d want to take to prevent an outbreak in my facility?