Alabama’s prisons are underprepared to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which could result in the death of almost 200 inmates, according to an internal document from the state’s Department of Corrections obtained by AL.com, it reported on Sunday.
The 263-page document planning for the coronavirus crisis predicts that understaffing and the design of the state prisons, which are severely overcrowded with almost 22,000 inmates, make it impossible to abide by the necessary protocols to keep prisoners and guards from contracting the virus.
In addition, the department would need more than $2 million to purchase enough personal protective equipment, medication and body bags to deal with the pandemic.
Experts have been warning about such scenarios in prisons sine the onset of the crisis.
But the department has failed to properly explain how it would handle such a situation, and the document obtained by AL.com was dated almost two weeks after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency on March 13 due to the coronavirus.
Some experts have suggested that Alabama take similar actions to other states by releasing prisoners to reduce overcrowding, especially those inmates who are elderly, have severe medical conditions or do not have much time left to serve, according to The Hill.
AL.com reported that, as part of prepartions, two prisons in the state are sewing facemasks for use in the system and are expected to produce some 2,000 to 2,500 a day.
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