Since the health crisis began, no inmate has died from a drug overdose. It is one of the “positive” effects of the pandemic in prisons, which have reduced the number of prisoners and in which there have been hardly any violent incidents.
These are the collateral consequences of a pandemic that has left four officials and two prisoners dead, according to an interview with Efe in a telematic interview with the Secretary General of Penitentiary Institutions, Ángel Luis Ortiz, who highlights the lower incidence of the coronavirus in the penitentiary field compared to abroad. .
In fact, according to their data, the impact of the pandemic has been four times less in prisons in terms of infections, ten less in mortality and seven times in hospitalizations.
And if there is a collateral effect that the head of the Prisons has called attention to is the drop in drug use, which has resulted in no inmate having died of an overdose since the start of the restrictive measures in the prisons imposed on early March, even before the state of alarm came into effect.
While six inmates died from an overdose between March 1 and April 25 of last year, from that first date this year until today there have been no inmates killed for this reason.
“Fortunately, the suspension of communications and the suspension of permits have meant that the prisons are hermetically closed and that drugs do not pass. By not passing the drug, we have managed to reduce the number of deaths from overdoses to zero,” explains Ortiz.
Not only that. Another indirect consequence, he adds, is that some inmates who are addicts are beginning to apply for methadone maintenance programs. “This hermetic closure of the prison is going to mean starting de-addiction treatments.”
Another “positive” result is the decrease in conflictive incidents and those that have occurred, explains Ortiz, “have been very punctual and fortunately in none of them has violence been used because in dialogue with the inmates they have deposed their attitude and returned to their cells. “
A figure that is also placed in the declines column is that of the prison population, which in mid-May drew 2,335 fewer prisoners than at the start of the pandemic, such that the total number in prisons dependent on the central administration (all except those in Catalonia) is 48,600 inmates.
It is necessary to go back to 2002 to find a similar number of inmates, with the particularity that, as Ortiz points out, from that date to the present time important centers have been inaugurated, that is, now there are better infrastructures for occupancy rates similar to those of that time.