COVID-19 Hit Federal Prisons Twice as Hard in 2nd Wave of Pandemic, Report Says

Link to News Report

Link to Correctional Investigator Report

"COVID-19 has hit federal prisons twice as hard in the second wave of the pandemic compared to the first, according to a new report from Canada's Correctional Investigator that recommends an inmate vaccination strategy to prevent more outbreaks behind bars....

In all, about 10 per cent of the federal prison population has been infected with COVID-19, compared to just two per cent of Canada's general population....

Among his key recommendations, Zinger [Correctional Investigator] alls on Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to explore alternatives to incarceration and to 'address the failings of Canada's aging, antiquated and costly federal prisons.'

Throughout the pandemic, prisoners advocates have called for the early release of offenders to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the confined and often crowded institutions. Zinger's report noted that there have been 1,053 fewer admissions than releases during the pandemic, but said that is due to reductions in sentencing and admissions during the pandemic rather than a planned increase in the release of inmates.

Zinger recommends that CSC collaborate with the Parole Board of Canada on the early, prioritized release of elderly and medically compromised inmates who don't pose a risk to society."

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