Behind Bars

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Behind Bars by Tali Feen

Editor’s Note: Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on those behind bars. Nationwide, prison inmates are commonly denied healthy food, sufficient rest, basic hygiene products, and physical space. These deprivations are exacerbated during a pandemic when prisoners are additionally denied access to masks, gloves, and adequate soap. The prison population, living in such extremely close quarters, becomes a petri dish for infection. Further, decades of extreme sentencing have resulted in a national prison population overwhelmingly composed of older inmates, the demographic that is most at risk of serious complications from the Coronavirus. The pandemic has essentially been weaponized to further punish one of the already most marginalized groups in America, inmates condemned to wade through the morass of the American Injustice System, the bones of which are steeped in systemic racism and capitalist greed. The deeply flawed United States carceral policies and a long term national embrace of mass incarceration has left a large segment of the population, prison inmates, without even the right to self-advocacy or political agency. As people all over the world take to the streets and the polling booths demanding a just and merciful justice system, it is important that we remember to speak up for those without the freedom to march or vote. — Maya Savin Miller