The Commission of Persons Deprived of their Liberty of the Puerto Rico Bar Association demanded today that the entire prison population be vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as the personnel who work in the country’s prisons.
“It is urgent that the State take immediate action and vaccinate the entire correctional population and the personnel who work and provide services there. The strategy should not be to react to infections or outbreaks, but to prevent them through vaccination. Prompt vaccination of such groups will protect the prison population as well as the families of those who visit prisons for work reasons, ”said lawyer Donald R. Milan Guindín in written statements.
The correctional population in Puerto Rico is estimated at 7,500 men, women, and minors, according to the Commission, and there are another 1,000 people who work daily serving them.
“Approximately between 15% and 20% of the prison population are detained for not being able to pay their bail, being forced to wait in jail for their day in court. The vaccination of those deprived of liberty would allow many of the cases that are currently detained to be heard again in court as soon as possible. Therefore, serving this population with haste not only keeps the community safe, but also helps to protect the constitutional rights of a large part of the detained population, ”said Diego H. Alcalá Laboy.
The Commission noted that the World Health Organization as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that inmates are exposed to a high level of contagion due to the limitations to implement sanitation measures, the reduced space to isolate patients, Inter alia.