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1.
Int J Prison Health ; ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)2021 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501266

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: In this work, the authors present some of the key results found during early efforts to model the COVID-19 outbreak inside a UK prison. In particular, this study describes outputs from an idealised disease model that simulates the dynamics of a COVID-19 outbreak in a prison setting when varying levels of social interventions are in place, and a Monte Carlo-based model that assesses the reduction in risk of case importation, resulting from a process that requires incoming prisoners to undergo a period of self-isolation prior to admission into the general prison population. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: Prisons, typically containing large populations confined in a small space with high degrees of mixing, have long been known to be especially susceptible to disease outbreaks. In an attempt to meet rising pressures from the emerging COVID-19 situation in early 2020, modellers for Public Health England's Joint Modelling Cell were asked to produce some rapid response work that sought to inform the approaches that Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) might take to reduce the risk of case importation and sustained transmission in prison environments. FINDINGS: Key results show that deploying social interventions has the potential to considerably reduce the total number of infections, while such actions could also reduce the probability that an initial infection will propagate into a prison-wide outbreak. For example, modelling showed that a 50% reduction in the risk of transmission (compared to an unmitigated outbreak) could deliver a 98% decrease in total number of cases, while this reduction could also result in 86.8% of outbreaks subsiding before more than five persons have become infected. Furthermore, this study also found that requiring new arrivals to self-isolate for 10 and 14 days prior to admission could detect up to 98% and 99% of incoming infections, respectively. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS: In this paper we have presented models which allow for the studying of COVID-19 in a prison scenario, while also allowing for the assessment of proposed social interventions. By publishing these works, the authors hope these methods might aid in the management of prisoners across additional scenarios and even during subsequent disease outbreaks. Such methods as described may also be readily applied use in other closed community settings. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: These works went towards informing HMPPS on the impacts that the described strategies might have during COVID-19 outbreaks inside UK prisons. The works described herein are readily amendable to the study of a range of addition outbreak scenarios. There is also room for these methods to be further developed and built upon which the timeliness of the original project did not permit.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Disaster Planning/organization & administration , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Prisoners/statistics & numerical data , Prisons/organization & administration , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Forecasting , Health Personnel/education , Humans , United Kingdom
2.
Int J Prison Health ; ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501265

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: New South Wales (NSW) correctional system houses 30% of prisoners in Australia and at this time has only had a single documented case of COVID-19 amongst its prisoner population. The coordinated response by Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network (The Network) undertaken with the support of NSW Ministry of Health, in partnership with Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW), Youth Justice and private jails has ensured that the NSW correctional system has remained otherwise COVID-free. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: A research study of how a range of partners which support the operations of NSW Correctional System developed an effective approach for the prevention a COVID-19 epidemic amongst its inmates. FINDINGS: Establishment of effective partnerships, early coordination of representatives from all aspects of the NSW correctional system, limited access to the correctional environment, reduced prison population and strict isolation of all new receptions have all contributed to maintaining this COVID-free status despite other NSW settings with similar risk profiles, such as aged care facilities and cruise ship arrivals, experiencing serious outbreaks. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS: Although Australia/New Zealand context of suppressed community infection rates for COVID-19 (which are approaching elimination in some jurisdictions) is in contrast to the situation in other parts of the world, the principles described in this paper will be useful to most other correctional systems. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Modelling was used to underline our approach and reinforced the veracity of following this approach. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: The Network and CSNSW has been able to mount an effective, integrated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been sustainable through the first peak of COVID-19 cases. This case study catalogues the process of developing this response and details each intervention implemented with inventive use of tables to demonstrate the impact of the range of interventions used.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Infection Control/organization & administration , Prisons/organization & administration , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , New South Wales/epidemiology , Organizational Case Studies , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Int J Prison Health ; ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)2021 05 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467474

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: In this paper, the authors present insights and findings drawn from the authors' experiences of containing a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak in a large prison in northern Italy.Within penitentiaries, close-quarter living is ripe terrain for outbreaks of disease among detainees and staff. If left unchecked, these outbreaks can easily spill over the prison walls to threaten the general public. Moreover, these risks are heightened by preexisting environmental conditions, especially overcrowding. It is thus paramount to establish effective protocols for prevention, early detection and outbreak management. The purpose of this article is to document a strategy that been at least partially successful in reducing the damage that could potentially be caused by a sustained SARS-CoV-2 outbreak within a correctional facility. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: The authors conducted a retrospective analysis on patients' and health-care workers' medical records to obtain demographic and clinical information. Descriptive data analysis was then carried out. FINDINGS: In total, the authors tested 453 people with oropharyngeal swabs from March 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020. Of these people, 58 were positive and 395 were negative, with a prevalence of 12.8%.Of the 453 patients, 60 were health workers: 24 tested positive for SARS-CoV2 ribonucleic acid (RNA); 18 developed symptoms; and three needed hospitalization.Among patients in detention, 34 resulted positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Two were hospitalized and later died. Both had severe preexisting conditions; they were aged 76 and 59 years old, respectively. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: In this study, the authors describe the design and effective implementation of prevention and containment measures against SARS-CoV-2 within the walls of a correctional facility. The authors describe how they rapidly created clean confinement sections to isolate cases in an environment designed for security at the expense of virus containment and how educational efforts have played a vital role in their strategy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Infection Control/organization & administration , Prisons/organization & administration , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/physiopathology , Female , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Prisoners/statistics & numerical data , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Socioeconomic Factors
4.
Int J Prison Health ; ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)2021 10 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1447742

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The purpose of the paper was to conduct a legal-realist assessment of the South African prison system response to COVID-19. Severely congested and ill-resourced prison systems in Africa face unprecedented challenges amplified by COVID-19. South Africa has recorded the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in Africa and, on March 15th 2020, declared a national state of disaster. The first prison system case was notified on April 6th 2020. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: A legal-realist assessment of the South African prison system response to COVID-19 in the 12 months following initial case notification focused on the minimum State obligations to comply with human rights norms, and the extent to which human, health and occupational health rights of prisoners and staff were upheld during disaster measures. FINDINGS: A legal-realist account was developed, which revealed the indeterminate nature of application of South African COVID-19 government directives, ill-resourced COVID-19 mitigation measures, alarming occupational health and prison conditions and inadequate standards of health care in prisons when evaluated against the rule of law during State declaration of disaster. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This legal-realist assessment is original by virtue of its unique evaluation of the South African prison system approach to tackling COVID-19. It acknowledged State efforts, policymaking processes and outcomes and how these operated within the prison system itself. By moving beyond the deleterious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the already precarious South African prison system, the authors argue for rights assurance for those who live and work in its prisons, improved infrastructure and greater substantive equality of all deprived of their liberty in South Africa.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Communicable Disease Control/standards , Prisons/legislation & jurisprudence , Prisons/standards , Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration , Human Rights , Humans , Prisons/organization & administration , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology
6.
Lancet Public Health ; 6(10): e760-e770, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345513

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Residents of prisons have experienced disproportionate COVID-19-related health harms. To control outbreaks, many prisons in the USA restricted in-person activities, which are now resuming even as viral variants proliferate. This study aims to use mathematical modelling to assess the risks and harms of COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons under a range of policies, including resumption of activities. METHODS: We obtained daily resident-level data for all California state prisons from Jan 1, 2020, to May 15, 2021, describing prison layouts, housing status, sociodemographic and health characteristics, participation in activities, and COVID-19 testing, infection, and vaccination status. We developed a transmission-dynamic stochastic microsimulation parameterised by the California data and published literature. After an initial infection is introduced to a prison, the model evaluates the effect of various policy scenarios on infections and hospitalisations over 200 days. Scenarios vary by vaccine coverage, baseline immunity (0%, 25%, or 50%), resumption of activities, and use of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that reduce transmission by 75%. We simulated five prison types that differ by residential layout and demographics, and estimated outcomes with and without repeated infection introductions over the 200 days. FINDINGS: If a viral variant is introduced into a prison that has resumed pre-2020 contact levels, has moderate vaccine coverage (ranging from 36% to 76% among residents, dependent on age, with 40% coverage for staff), and has no baseline immunity, 23-74% of residents are expected to be infected over 200 days. High vaccination coverage (90%) coupled with NPIs reduces cumulative infections to 2-54%. Even in prisons with low room occupancies (ie, no more than two occupants) and low levels of cumulative infections (ie, <10%), hospitalisation risks are substantial when these prisons house medically vulnerable populations. Risks of large outbreaks (>20% of residents infected) are substantially higher if infections are repeatedly introduced. INTERPRETATION: Balancing benefits of resuming activities against risks of outbreaks presents challenging trade-offs. After achieving high vaccine coverage, prisons with mostly one-to-two-person cells that have higher baseline immunity from previous outbreaks can resume in-person activities with low risk of a widespread new outbreak, provided they maintain widespread NPIs, continue testing, and take measures to protect the medically vulnerable. FUNDING: Horowitz Family Foundation, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Science Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Advanced Micro Devices.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Prisons , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , California/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Theoretical , Organizational Policy , Prisons/organization & administration , Risk Assessment , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
8.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1081915

ABSTRACT

Background: The current COVID-19 pandemic is not the first time New South Wales prisons have faced contagion. This paper examines the current responses in New South Wales prisons to the threat of COVID-19 to prisoner health, by contrasting contemporary activities with actions and policy developed during two historical epidemics: the influenza epidemic of 1860 and pandemic of 1919. Method: Epidemiological information relating to cases of disease in NSW prisons during the 1860 and 1919 influenza epidemics was obtained from the Comptroller-General's reports for the specific outbreak years and for the preceding and succeeding five-year periods. Additional archival sources such as digitised newspaper reports and articles available through the National Library of Australia were analysed for closer detail. The management of these outbreaks was compared to current strategies to mitigate against risk from the COVID-19 pandemic in the NSW prison system. Results: Interesting similarities were discovered in relation to the management of the historic influenza outbreaks in NSW prisons and in the management of the current COVID-19 pandemic. An outbreak of influenza in mid-1860 impacted seven penal institutions in Sydney and Parramatta. Infection rates at these institutions were between 3.1% and 100%; the mean rate was 41.8%. The public health measures employed at the time included allowing 'air circulation freely night and day', and treatments that were 'tonical and stimulatory'. Discussion: While the past 100 or more years have brought huge progress in scientific knowledge, public health approaches remain the mainstay of outbreak management in prisons; and, as in 1919, the opportunity for Australia to observe the rest of the world and plan for action has not been wasted. Prisons pose a potential risk for pandemic spread but they also present a unique opportunity for reducing disease risk by ironic virtue of the 'separate system' that was recognised even 100 years ago as characteristic of these institutions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Influenza, Human/history , Prisons/history , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Communicable Disease Control/history , History, 19th Century , History, 20th Century , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , New South Wales/epidemiology , Prisons/organization & administration , Prisons/standards
9.
Am J Hosp Palliat Care ; 38(6): 731-733, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1076102

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating the health of hundreds of thousands of people who live and work in U.S. jails and prisons. Due to dozens of large outbreaks in correctional facilities, tens of thousands of seriously ill incarcerated people are receiving medical care in the community hospital setting. Yet community clinicians often have little knowledge of the basic rights and ethical principles governing care of seriously ill incarcerated patients. Such patients are legally entitled to make their own medical decisions just like non-incarcerated patients, and retain rights to appoint surrogate decision makers and make advance care plans. Wardens, correctional officers, and prison health care professionals should not make medical decisions for incarcerated patients and should not be asked to do so. Dying incarcerated patients should be offered goodbye visits with their loved ones, and patients from federal prisons are legally entitled to them. Community health care professionals may need to advocate for this medically vulnerable hospitalized patient population to receive ethically appropriate, humane care when under their care in community hospitals. If ethical care is being obstructed, community health care professionals should contact the prison's warden and medical director to explain their concerns and ask questions. If necessary, community clinicians should involve a hospital's ethics committee, leadership, and legal counsel. Correctional medicine experts and legal advocates for incarcerated people can also help community clinicians safeguard the rights of incarcerated patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/nursing , Palliative Care/ethics , Prisoners/statistics & numerical data , Prisons/organization & administration , Terminal Care/ethics , Attitude of Health Personnel , Humans , Prisoners/psychology , United States , Vulnerable Populations/statistics & numerical data
13.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 124: 108216, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-957252

ABSTRACT

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office (FCSO), in Greenfield, Massachusetts, is among the first jails nationwide to provide correctional populations with access to all three medications to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD, i.e., buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FCSO quickly implemented comprehensive mitigation policies and adapted MOUD programming. Two major challenges for implementation of the MOUD program were the mandated rapid release of nonviolent pretrial individuals, many of whom were being treated with MOUD and released too quickly to conduct continuity of care planning; and establishing how to deliver physically distanced MOUD services in jail. FCSO implemented and adapted a hub-and-spoke MOUD model, developed telehealth capacity, and experimented with take-home MOUD at release to facilitate continuity-of-care as individuals re-entered the community. Experiences underscore how COVID-19 accelerated the uptake and diffusion of technology-infused OUD treatment and other innovations in criminal justice settings. Looking forward, to address both opioid use disorder and COVID-19, jails and prisons need to develop capacity to implement mitigation strategies, including universal and rapid COVID-19 testing of staff and incarcerated individuals, and be resourced to provide evidence-based addiction treatment. FCSO quickly pivoted and adapted MOUD programming because of its history of applying public health approaches to address the opioid epidemic. Utilizing public health strategies can enable prisons and jails to mitigate the harms of the co-occurring epidemics of OUD and COVID-19, both of which disproportionately affect criminal justice populations, for persons who are incarcerated and the communities to which they return.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Methadone/therapeutic use , Naltrexone/therapeutic use , Opioid-Related Disorders , Prisoners , Humans , Massachusetts , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , Prisons/organization & administration , Public Health , Telemedicine/organization & administration
14.
J Addict Med ; 14(6): e290-e292, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-835177

ABSTRACT

: Correctional settings can be vectors of infectious diseases due to overcrowding, unsanitary living conditions, and very little capacity to engage in social distancing. In the US, COVID-19 outbreaks were first identified in the New York City and Cook County jails, with infection rates far exceeding community rates. Each day new cases are being identified across the country in correctional facilities. People who are incarcerated are at increased risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms because of the increased prevalence of other underlying illnesses. Jails and prisons have begun initiating facility-level policies to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As a result, correctional agencies have reoriented staff to stem transmission in their facilities. This could translate into limited resources for other programming such as medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) programs. In this commentary, we highlight risk mitigation practices for delivering MOUD in correctional settings during COVID-19 and note how to ensure quality of care while still preparing for the possibility of future pandemics.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Prisons , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Opiate Substitution Treatment/methods , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Prisoners , Prisons/organization & administration , Telemedicine
19.
Health Aff (Millwood) ; 39(8): 1412-1418, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-526700

ABSTRACT

Jails and prisons are major sites of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Many jurisdictions in the United States have therefore accelerated the release of low-risk offenders. Early release, however, does not address how arrest and pretrial detention practices may be contributing to disease spread. Using data from Cook County Jail-one of the largest known nodes of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the United States-in Chicago, Illinois, we analyzed the relationship between jailing practices and community infections at the ZIP code level. We found that jail-community cycling was a significant predictor of cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), accounting for 55 percent of the variance in case rates across ZIP codes in Chicago and 37 percent of the variance in all of Illinois. Jail-community cycling far exceeds race, poverty, public transit use, and population density as a predictor of variance. The data suggest that cycling people through Cook County Jail alone is associated with 15.7 percent of all documented COVID-19 cases in Illinois and 15.9 percent of all documented cases in Chicago as of April 19, 2020. Our findings support arguments for reduced reliance on incarceration and for related justice reforms both as emergency measures during the present pandemic and as sustained structural changes vital for future pandemic preparedness and public health.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Prisoners/statistics & numerical data , Prisons/organization & administration , Public Health , COVID-19 , Chicago , Female , Humans , Illinois , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical/prevention & control , Male , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Vulnerable Populations
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