COVID-19: BCSAO News

Baltimore Sun- Apparently, it takes a pandemic to push forward certain corrections reforms in Maryland. Years of activism, impassioned pleas, research reports and editorials outlining inequities and atrocities within the system were neither as effective nor as efficient in securing the swift release of hundreds of low-level offenders, including 200 children, as COVID-19. Read More

Maryland Matters- At a virtual meeting hosted by Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby (D) Thursday evening, Out For Justice Executive Director Nicole Hanson said the makeup of the state’s prison population is not unlike that of a nursing home: Both scenarios present situations where people aged 60 and older live in tight quarters, oftentimes with underlying health conditions. The true scope of cases in state prisons isn’t known, she said. “How can you report individuals having COVID if you don’t even have testing behind the walls?” she asked. Dr. Chris Beyrer of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said “time is not on our side” when it comes to measuring COVID-10 in prison settings. Beyrer pointed to the Marion County Correctional Institution in Ohio, which universally tested its inmate population and staff, finding that 73% of everyone tested showed positive results. “We do need better data — there’s no question about that — and we need substantially more tests,” he said Thursday evening. Read More

Baltimore Sun_ With the prison system comprised of mostly black inmates — a group that appears to contract and die from COVID-19 at higher rates than other racial and ethnic groups — calls to free up space in the system and send people home have mounted from defense attorneys, the ACLU, lawmakers and Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Read More

Baltimore Sun- The Maryland Department of Corrections announced on Tuesday that an inmate in his 60s died from COVID-19. Randall confirmed to The Sun on Friday prior to his death that Parker had been hospitalized and suffered from several underlying health conditions. Read More

The Crime Report- In Maryland, thousands of prison inmates will soon be released to try to bring down the inmate population and protect corrections officers, reports WBAL-TV. So far, 39 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus and one inmate has died. Read more

Washington Post- Chianti “Tiki” Jackson Harpool was just as comfortable dressed in a sparkling full-length gown as she was donning a leather motorcycle jacket and a pair of jeans. “She was very fashionable, very ladylike . . . but she was not a girly girl,” her husband, Adrian, recalled of his wife of 12 years. Read More

WJLA- Since early March, Mosby has been publicly calling on Hogan to help control the pandemic by controlling its spread in prisons. “We know that virus was not going to be contained within those four walls,” said Mosby. “To have a comprehensive strategy and process in place was the importance of why I was pushing it so heavily.” Read More

WYPR- The COVID-19 pandemic poses a particular threat to people in prison -- both inmates and correctional officers. The basic tenets of virus mitigation -- social distancing and frequent hand washing -- aren’t possible, and the number of older inmates is substantial. Roughly 12 percent of the nation’s 2.3 million inmates are over the age of 55. Read more

Fox Baltimore- The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services says there are now 217 confirmed COVID-19 cases in correctional facilities as of Monday, April 27, including one inmate death, within its system. Read More

Baltimore Sun- Fifty inmates have been diagnosed with the disease, which has stricken a total of 217 people affiliated with the department. Read More