Check this out. What you will see is a thorough lesson on “how mass incarceration makes us sick”. Actually, you will see a double whammy described in this post.
First, we are reminded that the high and growing rate of incarceration in the US does not provide us with the protection from crime that the general public believes that it does. Translated, our incarceration rates are significantly higher than those of other first-world countries, but our crime rates are not commensurately lower. Whoops!
And then there is this learning of the pandemic. Prisons make wonderful Petri dishes. Great for spreading pathogens like COVID-19. And as is pointed out here, prisons are not like Vegas. What happens there doesn’t stay there, rather spreading like wildfire to surrounding communities. You all saw the news reports from prisons in Illinois and elsewhere demonstrating these effects during the height of the pandemic. And New York City was quick to clear out as many prisoners from Rikers Island as possible, as quickly as possible, to avoid a coronavirus disaster there adding to their woes.
And then there are other factors to consider. Like the impact that differential incarceration rates have on racial inequality in health and healthcare.
Bottom Line. The message here is clear. Mass incarceration can have significant, untoward public health consequences. We need to keep them in mind when we, as a society, exercise our understandable but troublesome penchant for wanting to punish even the most minor criminals with jail time.