As a result of the pandemic, those at the jail have an alarming lack of access to the phones and visitation. It has become incredibly difficult to contact any person at the jail, or for any person at the jail to contact the outside world. This is concerning for a number of reasons, most obvious of which is the stress this isolation can create. Another result of the pandemic is the slow shuttering of our court system. At this moment, trials are very few and far between, when they occur at all. This has created a situation at many jails, including our own here in Winston-Salem, where, unless one takes a plea or can afford the cash bail amount, one becomes indefinitely confined until some trial date far into the future.
Of course, the pandemic itself is in the jails. Several people held at the jail in Winston-Salem have already started getting sick. While an end to the virus may be in sight for some, it is unclear when, if at all, any persons held within the jail will receive a vaccine. Jails in our country are, by design, inhospitable. It goes without saying that avoiding a highly communicable virus in a building with few windows, questionable circulation, and hundreds of people in close confinement is a herculean task.
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