Vulnerable Inmates Left in Prison as Covid Rages


A nurse informed him it was “in all probability the flu,” and Mr. Heim was not seen by a physician or examined for the coronavirus till Dec. 4. When Mr. Heim, who has persistent lung illness, was discovered to be contaminated and positioned in isolation, he informed employees he couldn’t breathe.

“They mentioned there was nothing they might do for me,” he mentioned in a declaration to the courtroom. “The first 4 days I used to be in isolation, I laid there considering I used to be going to die.” He remained there for 20 days, throughout which he was seen solely thrice by a doctor, he mentioned.

Isolation is crucial to curbing the unfold of infections, however nearly a full yr after the pandemic began, the jail didn’t have applicable isolation quarters ready for ladies who turned contaminated.

In December, when dozens of ladies examined optimistic, they had been housed in makeshift quarters within the prisons’ visiting rooms, in keeping with the accounts of seven feminine inmates supplied by way of written courtroom declarations and telephone interviews.

The rooms had no beds, solely rudimentary restroom amenities, and no showers. (Temporary bathe items had been ultimately put in.) The girls had been moved rapidly; many mentioned they didn’t have time to pack essential objects like medicines, bronchial asthma inhalers and female hygiene merchandise. Several mentioned they had been with out their prescriptions for days.

On arrival, the contaminated girls taken to the visiting room of the boys’s jail, a few of them visibly unwell, had been informed to assemble steel cots to sleep on. Mattresses weren’t out there at first, and bedding was scarce, in keeping with quite a few accounts. The room was chilly, particularly at evening.

“I used to be freezing, truly, they usually didn’t wish to give us additional blankets,” mentioned Stacy Spagnardi, 53, who was not too long ago granted dwelling confinement. She is serving a sentence for tax evasion and insurance coverage fraud.



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