As the COVID-19 virus continues its relentless march across the nation, the looming crisis inside America’s jails and prisons appears to be deepening, as corrections officials dig in to prevent outbreaks in the nation’s more than 6,000 prisons and jails. So far this week, a total of 23 inmates have escaped correctional facilities in two states after at least one inmate had tested positive at each of two facilities — and by late Wednesday a dozen remained at large, officials said. In the past week, judges from coast to coast have ordered thousands of inmates released — both those detained before trial and convicted inmates — but calls for release have broadened to all medically-vulnerable inmates, as reports of medical and cleaning supplies shortages at correctional facilities nationwide climb as well. In New York City — America’s current epicenter of infection — tension is building inside some units of Rikers Island’s sprawling jail complex, where a sharp spike in inmates testing positive for COVID-19 this week is driving fears that the situation will bloom into the nation’s first major outbreak inside a correctional facility. As of Wednesday, 75 New York City inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 37 city


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