We need a better prison strategy.

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Prisoners, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners, are an especially vulnerable group in this pandemic. Our prisons have shocking track records of failing to provide even basic medical care, let alone managing virus outbreaks. In 2003, an influenza outbreak exploded in NSW prisons and then spread into the community. In 2018, a young Aboriginal man died of an asthma attack in a NSW prison.

Across the country, prisons are already struggling to cope with coronavirus. Visitors have been banned. Many prisons are experiencing huge staffing shortages. Most have already resorted to drastic measures, such as quarantine units for new arrivals, solitary confinement for suspected cases, and indefinite lockdowns.

Other countries are acting rapidly to release prisoners. States across the US, such as Ohio and California, have taken note of what’s happened in New York. They are…

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