It has been two months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. People are itching to return to “normal,” to break out of their so-called home confinement; however, what is it like to be a person in an actual prison, right now, stuck in a crowded confinement that extends before and after this pandemic?
The United States is the most heavily incarcerated country in the developed world, and with that comes many secondary consequences, including children growing up with incarcerated parents. Although efforts have been made to mitigate the harm associated with having an incarcerated parent, few are focused on meeting the direct health needs of these children through preventative health care.
It has been a couple of months since I started collecting medical data at a local jail in Southern California. It easily became routine: I exchange my I.D. for a clip-on visitor’s badge, take the button-less elevator and hand signal the medical floor number, and wait for the security-monitored heavy steel doors to slide open and let me in.