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Originally published as "California Needs to Protect Its Prison Staff and Inmates During COVID-19 Pandemic," Cal Matters, May 30, 2020.
As we learn more about COVID-19 daily, it is increasingly clear that impacts are largest for individuals with health risks, the economically disadvantaged and people of color. Prisons concentrate these vulnerabilities in a single institution. And institutions with concentrated vulnerabilities put us all at risk.
As scholars of prisons and inequality, we urge our leaders to recognize the importance of centering prisons, and especially prison staff, in the ongoing public health response to COVID-19.