Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) The Covid-19 infection rate in prisons across the US has reached 34 per cent, an expert has said.
"Prisons and jails have hosted some of the largest Covid-19 outbreaks in the US, with some facilities approaching 4,000 cases... In US prisons, the (infection) rate is 34 out of 100," Danielle Wallace, associate professor of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the Arizona State University, wrote in an article.
The article was published in The Conversation, a Melbourne-based online media outlet that publishes news stories and articles by academics and researchers.
A main reason for such a high Covid-19 infection rate is correctional officers, who have been playing a leading role in spreading infectious diseases for years, Wallace noted, calling them "a weak link".
"Current prison conditions, including poor ventilation, overcrowding and a lack of space for social distancing, and isolation, make respiratory diseases like Covid-19 very difficult to control," she said, adding that many US states have remained at a prisoner capacity of at least 100 per cent during the pandemic.
Wallace also attributed the high infection rate in US prisons to short staffing as well as low vaccination rates among correctional officers and incarcerated people.
"Across all states, incarcerated people have not been prioritised for the vaccine. Even when the vaccines are available, many incarcerated people are sceptical about receiving them due to mistrust of prison officials," she said.