Inmates got sick from sharing drinks and masks 

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Images adapted from: New York Post and Los Angeles Times

Some may feel like living in a prison sounds like a better option than unemployment and starvation.

On the other hand, at one Californian prison, a group of inmates got the idea they can get released if they gave themselves the coronavirus.

They practised against safety measures 

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An inmate passes the cup back to its owner after sipping.
Image credit: New York Post

An inmate brought a bottle from the hot water dispenser and passed it around. His fellow inmates took turns sipping the hot water as the bottle’s owner went through each of them.

The officials think they drank hot water to temporarily raise their body temperatures before check-ups. If they couldn’t catch the illness, they could fake their body temperature.

It is unclear if one of them had the coronavirus, but the bottle itself was contaminated. Inmates also assaulted a jail trustee for trying to remove items possibly meant for the plan.

InmInf mask sniffImage credit: Los Angeles Times

In a second footage, a group of four took turns holding a cloth mask up to their faces and breathing in.

The overcrowded prison space makes social-distancing hard, but inmates huddling up together means a likelier chance of infection.

On check-up day, they found 21 inmates infected

InmInf sheriff briefingSheriff Alex Villanueva explains a suspicious surge in infection linked to security footage
Image credit: CNN

Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva said there were zero cases of infected inmates until the week of the incidents. Every inmate had his own supplies and had no reason to share.

Prison authorities may look into punishing those who intentionally infect people. This could mean extended prison sentences for attempting to harm others and possibly for self-harm.

It should be understood that the punishment is for the safety of others and not out of spite.

Countries releasing prisoners for safety measures

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Prisoners in Depok, Indonesia released and trucked out on 2nd April
Image credit: Antara Foto/Reuters

Prisons in different countries, including Thailand, are releasing inmates to minimise the risk of infection spread from overcrowding prisons.

While officials saw this as a way to keep everyone safe, some inmates saw it as a way to get out of prison earlier.

Choosing health over freedom 

Deliberately infecting yourself with any virus can lead to lifelong health problems if not fatal.

Patience is a virtue, and the cost of freedom is not worth putting your health at risk. For everyone in and out of prison, being hospitalized is the worst punishment and a hard lesson to learn.

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