Inmates are only allowed to use alcohol-free sanitizers given to them by the Irish Prison Services to defend against the novel coronavirus outbreak. Newsweek is reporting that the ban went into effect in Irish prisons in 2014 after several prisoners drank a mixture of alcohol-based hand sanitizer and prescription drugs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that people use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as a line of defense against the coronavirus. That said, it appears the IPS will not lift the ban, even temporarily, out of fears that the prisoners will make “moonshine.”
Unfortunately, prisoners have a high likelihood of contracting COVID-19 due to reported overcrowding and lack of proper sanitation. The use of alcohol-free hand sanitizers may not lessen the odds of multiple people behind bars becoming contaminated by the virus.
Even though prisoners are isolated from the outside world, they live in tight quarters with others, which is a potential natural breeding ground for viruses.
Many people in authority have raised concerns about the health of prisoners amid the viral outbreak.
Newsweek quoted Sherif Sultan, the president of the International Society of Vascular Surgery.
“Prisoners in jail are more likely to contract the virus due to overcrowding and low levels of sanitization. [They] are quarantined from society but not from each other.”
Ireland is not the only country to have banned prisoners from alcohol-based hand sanitizer. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that a New York prison would create a line of hand sanitizer called “New York State Clean” due to the scarcity of sanitizer amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The article doesn’t indicate whether it will use alcohol in its formula or uphold the ban. It will go into production at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility.
A spokesperson from Irish Prison Services reiterated the importance of proper sanitization in a statement.
“The unique environment of a prison and the sheer numbers and diversity of people who pass through our prisons make vigilance around infection prevention and control absolutely necessary.”
According to the article, the spokesperson elaborated on the measures they’re taking to limit prisoner exposure to the virus. They assured the outlet that in the rare instance where a prisoner must be handcuffed, they still have enough “flexibility to cover their mouth when they cough and sneeze.” Most prison cells also have hygiene accommodations such as toilets and sinks.
Earlier today, The Inquisitr reported that over 3,487 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the United States with a grand total of 68 deaths.