Center on Sentencing and Corrections

COVID-19 in Correctional Facilities: Medical Isolation

COVID-19 in Correctional Facilities: Medical Isolation

Cloud, David, Dallas Augustine, Cyrus Ahalt, and Brie Williams. “COVID-19 in Correctional Facilities: Medical Isolation.” Amend at UCSF, April 9, 2020.

This guidance document from Amend, a group of public health and corrections experts, clarifies the differences between “solitary confinement,” “quarantine,” and “medical isolation,” and why solitary confinement is not an appropriate tactic to minimize COVID-19 transmission in jails and prisons. The brief serves as a tool for departments of corrections, prison and jail residents, advocates, and other key stakeholders to ensure that:

  1. The conditions within medical isolation and quarantine do not resemble the punitive conditions in restrictive housing or solitary confinement
  2. The use of these units mitigates the spread of COVID-19 in correctional facilities while following the highest standards of medical ethics.

Click here to view the guidance.

Amend’s guidance includes a brief infographic, further detailing the differences between solitary confinement, quarantine, and medical isolation, and actions that can combat COVID-19 in correctional facilities. It also provides steps corrections agencies should take to determine the appropriate living unit for an incarcerated person based on the results from their COVID-19 test.

Click here to view the infographic.

Keywords: restrictive housing, lockdown, coronavirus, COVID, WHO, CDC, screening, containment, jail, prison, public health, healthcare, medical, public health guidance.