Screenshot taken by Ian Vargas.

Incarcerated students and COVID-19

HSU’s formerly incarcerated students club talks about the effects of Covid-19 in prisons
Translate

HSU’s Formerly Incarcerated Students Club hosted a webinar on March 5 to highlight the effects of COVID-19 in prisons and ways in which those effects could be mitigated. The Formerly Incarcerated Students Club also works with Project Rebound, an organization that helps formerly incarcerated students return to life outside prison and advocates for solutions to the United States’ high prison rates.

With incarceration rates being as high as they are in the US, prisons can be a prime breeding ground for COVID-19, and often are left without much in the way of support or resources to help combat it. This lack of support can greatly endanger the lives of many people in prison who are highly vulnerable.

The state and the CDC both have implemented guidelines for ensuring that prisons remain safe, but these guidelines are often not nearly enough to ensure that people are actually secured. COVID rates in state prisons are often significantly higher than the rates seen in the state as a whole. Considering that at least 17% of inmates are over 45 and are at increased risk of severe symptoms, this lack of security can be a death sentence for people whose crimes are relatively minor.

According to Jazmin Delgado, President of the FISC and student support for Project Rebound, the responsibility for this comes primarily down to states failing to properly implement safety measures in state prisons. While prisons may test staff and inmates, only half of US states actually require prison staff to wear a mask, and most do not stock adequate soap and disinfectant for inmates in accordance with CDC guidelines. This comes partially from a lack of resources, but also a lack of effort.

“State facilities are either A) not implementing these guidelines,” Delgado said. “Or B) not implementing them to the fullest of their abilities.”

Ultimately, a large part of the problem is that prisons are simply not built to allow for proper social distancing and safety measures. Prisons in the US have people constantly coming in and out, both staff and inmates. Additionally, people are packed so close together that the only way for them to properly isolate themselves would be solitary confinement, which is itself deeply undesirable and discourages inmates from revealing if they have symptoms or not. This has led to large spikes in the numbers of cases of COVID-19 in state prisons, which can become spikes in the surrounding areas when correctional staff return home later.

According to Project Rebound’s Jeremy Teitz, these guidelines are almost impossible to implement and getting harder with rising prison populations.

“How are these guidelines that are already near impossible to follow going to be followed when jail populations are increasing?” Tietz said. “Jails aren’t made for social distancing, and I’m not sure how the CDC thought jails would implement these guidelines.”

Incarceration in the US is a problem that is getting worse. Project Rebound hopes to assist students who have served prison sentences and to advocate for solutions to this continually rising issue, such as lowering sentencing for nonviolent crimes and allowing for individuals to get their felony records expunged and reenter the workforce. In the words of Project Rebounds Program Coordinator and HSU Graduate Tony Wallin, this is an issue that affects everyone, not just people who are currently imprisoned.

“We’re at this weird time where things have exploded and you don’t see people who aren’t affected,” Wallin said “One in three people have a criminal record. There are the same amount of people who have criminal records as have college degrees.”

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination

Major League Marijuana

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Pigs Compost on Campus

CCAT tries to reduce HSU’s food waste footprint through new pig program