Law \ Legal

Hurricane Ian Revealed Prisoner Struggles During Natural Disasters

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Without a national mandate, preparation and evacuation decisions of incarcerated people  during a storm fall on the correctional departments, as most jails and prisons are ill-equipped to fend off storms. Before Hurricane Ian, about 2,500 inmates were evacuated from more than 20 facilities in Florida to safer locations. Still, some stuck around, losing power and access to other necessities, reports N’dea Yancey-Bragg in USA Today.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling that under the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, prisons cannot be deliberately indifferent to the safety and well-being of the people in their care, natural disasters cause dilemmas for the prison system, where most are susceptible to high-risk flooding. During storms, people in jails and prisons often lose out on clean drinking water, adequate food, medication, functioning toilets and air conditioning.

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