RNA - Across the United States, jails and prisons are reporting an accelerating spread of the new coronavirus, and they are taking a varied approach to protecting the inmates in their charge.
Thousands of inmates are being released from detention, in some cases with little or no medical screening to determine if they may be infected by the coronavirus and at risk of spreading it into the community, Reuters found.
“The government is completely unconcerned about whether these people live or die. The people in prison that the people in the immigration detention, said Charles Dunaway, a political analyst from the US state of Oregon.
“They really don't care and you know, it's just that much more expense that won't have to be made,” Dunaway told Press TV in a phone interview on Monday.
An Iranian scientist detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has said that ICE’s handling of the coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak may kill him along with many other inmates, according to a report.
The British daily Guardian published an interview with Iranian materials science and engineering professor Sirous Asghari on Friday detailing the “inhumane” jail conditions at his ICE facility.
Asghari, which is being detained indefinitely by ICE despite being exonerated in a US sanctions trial last November, said that little is being done to protect inmates from the outbreak in his “filthy and overcrowded” detention center.
“I think what's going on here both in the immigration detention, which is what Asgari is talking about and in our normal prison system, you know, which is a very brutal sort of warehousing of people, and we have the largest prison population in the world,” Dunaway said.
“I don't think anything is really being done to alleviate their situation to protect them from the virus,” he added.
In a phone call from the Alexandria Staging Facility (ASF) in Alexandria, Louisiana, Asghari said that his facility lacks basic cleaning practices and continues to bring in new detainees potentially exposed to the virus from across the country.
He added that detainees have no access to hand sanitizers or masks and that bathrooms and sleeping areas are not being cleaned regularly despite the crowded conditions.
“What Asgari said about the ICE not looking at these people in these facilities as human beings is very true, that is a long part of our history, that is a part of our settler colonial culture, in that we have always in this country had a group of people, whether it was Native Americans or Africans that were shipped over here, or whatever, we've always had a group of people that we did not consider full human beings and we treated them as such and now that's certainly anyone in a foreign country, particularly anyone who is in a foreign country that isn’t white,” Dunaway said.
“That's part of our racism that has been endemic in this country from the very beginning, and it's rears its ugly head now and then and this is one of those times,” he said.