As COVID-19 spreads through America’s overcrowded jails and prisons, researchers with Amend at UCSF are cautioning against using punitive solitary confinement to medically isolate infected people.
Doing so will isolate potentially exposed and infected people from medical staff, while also punishing them for no reason. It may be necessary instead to release as many uninfected people as possible to make room for non-punitive medical isolation and quarantine.
“Now is the time to put health first in correctional policy and practice, said Brie Williams, MD, MS, founder and director of Amend at UCSF. “We must ensure that medical isolation and quarantine procedures follow community standards of care and are not, in reality, solitary confinement by another name.”
The recommendations were made in a perspective paper in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.