In Vermont, Isolating Inmates Kept Covid at Bay, but at a Price

Vermont is the only state where no people incarcerated in prison died of COVID-19 in the first 12 months of the pandemic, and its infection rate is relatively low. The prisons took steps that other prison systems either didn't try or didn't do soon enough, including universal testing at least six times over the year; strict isolation of newly admitted prisoners for 14 days; occasional lockdowns of up to a month; early releases from prison; and keeping corrections officers housed separately from the community. The isolation measures hurt people's mental health, including one suicide and one attempt.

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