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Kuzma Kononov
Kuzma Kononov


The Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS) contains information about prisoners, parolees, and probationers who are currently under supervision, or who have been discharged but are still within three years of their supervision discharge date. It does not contain information about offenders who are beyond that three-year period.


That total is a significant undercount. In the early months of the pandemic, testing was inconsistent in many prisons, leading to cases going undiagnosed. Reported cases first peaked in April 2020, when states such as Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee began mass testing of prisoners. Though later waves of the pandemic led to far higher numbers of cases, those initiatives suggested that the coronavirus had been circulating among people without symptoms in much greater numbers than previously known.

To estimate the rate of infection among prisoners, we collected population data for each prison system before the pandemic, roughly in mid-March of 2020, and then in April and June and each month after that. Beginning the week of July 28, 2020, we updated all prisoner population numbers, reflecting the number of incarcerated adults in state or federal prisons. Before that, population figures may have included additional people, such as prisoners housed in other facilities, which were not captured in our COVID-19 data. In states with unified prison and jail systems, we included both detainees awaiting trial and sentenced prisoners.

In mid-August 2020, Pennsylvania began reporting cases for prisoners and staff in community correction facilities. We have included these cases starting with numbers as of Aug. 18, 2020, and have updated inmate population figures to add individuals held in community corrections facilities. The number of individuals recovered among both staff and prisoners doesn't count individuals in community corrections facilities.

Prior to late-June of 2021, the percentage of prisoners who had received at least one shot of a vaccine inadvertently omitted systems that only reported those who had been fully vaccinated. We updated this calculation, sending the number from 46% to 54%.

More than 10 million people are incarcerated worldwide; this number has increased by about a million in the past decade. Mental disorders and infectious diseases are more common in prisoners than in the general population. High rates of suicide within prison and increased mortality from all causes on release have been documented in many countries. The contribution of prisons to illness is unknown, although shortcomings in treatment and aftercare provision contribute to adverse outcomes. Research has highlighted that women, prisoners aged 55 years and older, and juveniles present with higher rates of many disorders than do other prisoners. The contribution of initiatives to improve the health of prisoners by reducing the burden of infectious and chronic diseases, suicide, other causes of premature mortality and violence, and counteracting the cycle of reoffending should be further examined.

One in three prisoners around the world is being held without having stood trial or been found guilty by any court, according to a new study published on Friday by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Speaking on Nicaraguan state TV in the morning, a judge said the government had decided to "deport" the prisoners in order to "protect peace and national security." He said they had been declared traitors and can never again serve in public office.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said Nicaragua made the decision "unilaterally," but that the United States had "facilitated the transportation" and the political prisoners would be admitted into the United States for "humanitarian reasons."

Arturo McFields, a Nicaraguan diplomat who publicly broke ranks with the Ortega regime, said this was a "bittersweet moment." (Not one of the released prisoners himself, McFields was speaking by phone with NPR about the news.)

"In part we are happy, we are celebrating, but on the other hand, they are not really free," he said. "The political prisoners cannot go back to their homes, cannot go and have a political life, a civil life, study, work, express themselves freely. That does not exist in Nicaragua."

Lawyers and family members of the prisoners say they were kept in horrific conditions. Some had spent many years in jail, others were arrested in the run-up to Nicaragua's 2021 presidential elections.

The government published a list of all 222 prisoners who were released. They are clergy, youth activists, journalists and members of the opposition, including Félix Maradiaga and Cristiana María Chamorro Barrios, who were both candidates who challenged Ortega in the election.

This release of prisoners comes as a surprise. Human rights group say that Nicaragua was holding 245 political prisoners, most of them have now been released. Notably, Catholic Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who was jailed for criticizing the regime, is not listed among those released.

(c) A correctional facility should maintain order and should protect prisoners from harm from other prisoners and staff. Restrictions placed on prisoners should be necessary and proportionate to the legitimate objectives for which those restrictions are imposed.

(k) If governmental authorities elect to furnish prisoners any services by contracting with private providers, those contracted services should comply with these Standards, and the correctional agency should monitor and ensure such compliance, and should be held accountable for doing so.

(i) use a properly validated screening protocol, including, if appropriate, special protocols for female prisoners, prisoners who have mental disabilities, and prisoners who are under the age of eighteen or geriatric;

(a) Correctional authorities should not place prisoners in segregated housing except for reasons relating to: discipline, security, ongoing investigation of misconduct or crime, protection from harm, medical care, or mental health care. Segregated housing should be for the briefest term and under the least restrictive conditions practicable and consistent with the rationale for placement and with the progress achieved by the prisoner. Segregation for health care needs should be in a location separate from disciplinary and long-term segregated housing. Policies relating to segregation for whatever reason should take account of the special developmental needs of prisoners under the age of eighteen.

(ii) Several times each week , a qualified mental health professional should observe each segregated housing unit, speaking to unit staff, reviewing the prisoner log, and observing and talking with prisoners who are receiving mental health treatment.

(f) Correctional officials should implement a system to facilitate the return to lower levels of custody of prisoners housed in long-term segregated housing. Except in compelling circumstances, a prisoner serving a sentence who would otherwise be released directly to the community from long-term segregated housing should be placed in a less restrictive setting for the final months of confinement.

(a) Correctional agencies and facilities should provide housing options with conditions of confinement appropriate to meet the protection, programming, and treatment needs of special types of prisoners, including female prisoners, prisoners who have physical or mental disabilities or communicable diseases, and prisoners who are under the age of eighteen or geriatric.

(b) No prisoner under the age of eighteen should be housed in an adult correctional facility. Where applicable law does not provide for all such prisoners to be transferred to the care and control of a juvenile justice agency, a correctional agency should provide specialized facilities and programs to meet the education, special education, and other needs of this population.

(d) Correctional authorities should house and manage prisoners with physical disabilities, including temporary disabilities, in a manner that provides for their safety and security. If necessary, housing should be designed for use by prisoners with disabilities; such housing should be in the most integrated setting appropriate for such prisoners. Correctional authorities should safely accommodate prisoners who are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness or infectious disease, or are otherwise medically vulnerable.

(a) Correctional authorities should provide prisoners living quarters of adequate size. Single-occupancy cells should be the preferred form of prisoner housing. Facilities that must use dormitories or other multiple-prisoner living quarters should provide sufficient staffing, supervision, and personal space to ensure safety for prisoners and security for their belongings. All prisoner living quarters and personal hygiene areas should be designed to facilitate adequate and appropriate supervision of prisoners and to allow prisoners privacy consistent with their security classification.

(a) Correctional authorities should maintain living quarters and associated common areas in a sanitary condition. Correctional authorities should be permitted to require prisoners able to perform cleaning tasks to do so, with necessary materials and equipment provided to them regularly and without charge.

(c) Correctional authorities should provide prisoners, without charge, basic individual hygiene items appropriate for their gender, as well as towels and bedding, which should be exchanged or laundered at least weekly. Prisoners should also be permitted to purchase hygiene supplies in a commissary.

(a) To the extent practicable and consistent with prisoner and staff safety, correctional authorities should minimize the periods during the day in which prisoners are required to remain in their cells.

(b) Correctional authorities should provide all prisoners daily opportunities for significant out-of-cell time and for recreation at appropriate hours that allows them to maintain physical health and, for prisoners not in segregated housing, to socialize with other prisoners. Each prisoner, including those in segregated housing, should be offered the opportunity for at least one hour per day of exercise, in the open air if the weather permits. 041b061a72


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