Criminal Justice, Mass Incarceration, and COVID-19: Understanding Prison Health and Prison Health Activism in the United States
This senior thesis project, tentatively titled "Criminal Justice, Mass Incarceration, and COVID-19: Understanding Prison Health and Prison Health Activism in the United States," studies recent and longer threads of social and historical context from the twentieth century to the present to better understand the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on incarcerated individuals in the United States and the rapid and intense development of prison health activism in response. It aims to draw connections between history and the COVID-19 pandemic, revealing the broader attitudes and challenges toward advancing the health and human rights of incarcerated people in the United States and further examining discourse at the intersection of health, criminal justice, and mass incarceration.
Drawing on past outbreaks in America's correctional facilities, instances of unethical experimentation behind bars, and prison health activism of the mid-to-late twentieth century, this research explores the following questions: Why has the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted incarcerated individuals in the United States? Why has there been a sudden and rampant rise in prison health activism and criminal justice advocacy amid the ongoing public health crisis?
An important note is that the work for this project is still ongoing. The material in this presentation reflects the research completed so far.