This article looks at the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020 and explores the commonalities and differences of states’ actions to protect their citizens, especially the most vulnerable populations. The article discusses the government’s obligations to jailees and prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic and how incarcerated persons have been consistently failed by the institutions that are required to protect them. The article examines possible remedies for these governmental and institutional failings under the Eighth Amendment and § 1983 civil rights claims. Ultimately the article proposes that monetary damages would provide relief to incarcerated individuals and their families where other remedies have often failed. Additionally, monetary damages will send the message that those under the protection of the state need tangible justice and that the government needs rigorous accountability during a public health emergency.
Incarcerated Persons During a Public Health Emergency,
35 J.L. & Health
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/jlh/vol35/iss2/5