To prevent coronavirus from spreading inside the prisons, something that has happened in certain places, authorities at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center decided to provide their inmates with masks made from clothes. However, one detainee decided to use it for a ghastly purpose – suicide.
On Wednesday, August 5, at 5:07 in the morning, the staff at the correctional center found Daniel Ocasio in a precarious condition in his cell. Apparently, he had used the cloth mask given to him to strangle himself. Since he hadn't hanged himself and instead, used the cloth to make a ligature, he wasn't dead at the time of discovery.
The authorities rushed him to a medical facility to try and save him. However, the damage was too extensive and despite the attempts of the medical staff, Ocasio was declared dead close to 6 AM. The cause of the death, not surprisingly, was ruled as suicide.
Keeping Prisoners Safe
This incident has reignited the debate over the means used by jails and detention centers to prevent their inmates from contracting the virus. Many now believe that things which can be used by the detainees and prisoners to hurt themselves should not be provided.
There have been cases in the United States where a large number of prisoners in a prison have ended up contracting the virus and suffering from COVID-19. These occurrences have even led to some prisoners being released on parole or before the completion of their term. Some of these cases have gone wrong as the released prisoners have committed crimes.
One of the most shocking cases of the spread of coronavirus inside prisons came from Texas where over a thousand prisoners tested positive for the virus in the Federal prison of Seagoville. Such cases forced the authorities to ramp up their efforts to ensure hygiene inside penitentiaries and detention centers.
The person who ended his life in this instance, Ocasio, was accused of third-degree burglary. The value of the bail bond was set very high at $10,000, something way beyond his means. He was admitted into the prison on August 5 and ended his life a week later.
One possible solution to the problem of keeping detainees safe could be to provide them safer masks, those which could not be manipulated in forms that can be used to harm themselves. Such masks may cost more than the basic ones provided in this case. But there is hardly any other option that looks viable at this stage.