WORLD US watchdog warns of 'oppressive conditions' in prisons under pandemic-driven lockdowns


US watchdog warns of 'oppressive conditions' in prisons under pandemic-driven lockdowns


10:27, March 29, 2022

Outside view of the Metropolitan Detention Center, amid the Covid 19 pandemic, May 12, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: AFP)

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Due to widespread lockdowns mainly driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, prisoners in the United States are suffering "oppressive conditions," the U.S. nonprofit Solitary Watch warned in a recent report.

The entire federal prison system, as well as facilities in states including California, Illinois, Arkansas and others, went on lockdown in the first two months of 2022, which led to conditions similar to solitary confinement usually used for prisoners labelled "a security risk" or as punishment for breaking rules, the report said.

Prisoners under lockdowns have limited access to medical and mental health care, showers, adequate food, programming and visitation, which turns "the already miserable experience of incarceration into torture," it said.

Apart from curbing the pandemic, in some cases officials said the lockdowns are a reaction to fights and violence in prisons, "although these incidents often stem from tense, life-threatening conditions in overcrowded, COVID-ridden facilities," according to the report.

Solitary Watch "investigates, documents and disseminates information on the widespread use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails," according to its official website.

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