Mar 29, 2020 - Health

First federal prison inmate dies from coronavirus

Barbed wire fence

Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

A 47-year-old inmate at a federal prison in Louisiana died Saturday from the coronavirus, marking the first virus-related inmate death in the federal prison system, a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson told NBC News.

Why it matters: U.S. prisons, jails and detention facilities are dangerously susceptible to the coronavirus because they are confined spaces and are often overcrowded.

  • They often have poor sanitary conditions. Even access to proper handwashing isn't always available, experts tell Axios. Hand sanitizers are often considered contraband in prison because they can contain alcohol.
  • The U.S. incarcerated population also has a surging number of elderly people who are more susceptible to severe symptoms if infected by the coronavirus.

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