Crowded Prisons Are Festering ‘Petri Dishes’ For Coronavirus, Observers Warn

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    On Monday, April 6, an inmate named Dennis stayed up late at Indiana’s Plainfield Correctional Facility. He wrote to his wife, Lisa, and told her he was scared. “I can tell you right now, with nearly 100% certainty, that I am going to get this virus,” he wrote. Lisa says Dennis suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , which could cause complications if he gets COVID-19. (NPR agreed to omit their last names because they fear retaliation from prison staff.) “I just need you to know how sorry I am for not being there … during these scary uncertain times,” Dennis wrote to his wife. He was sent to prison a year ago for theft, driving on a suspended license and resisting arrest. His earliest possible release date is in June 2021. “If I don’t getta come home, please always know that you are and always will be the love of my life.” Two days later, he told Lisa that for the first time, prison staff took the inmates’ temperatures. Some, including an inmate next to him, had fevers,

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